Unable to reach a verdict against a Baltimore police officer accused of killing Freddie Gray, a judge declared a mistrial today, angering protesters who were standing outside the courthouse.
But prosecutors say they will retry William Porter, the driver of the van in which Gray was killed, and the first of six officers to be tried.
The jury deliberated for more than 16 hours over three days before Judge Barry G. Williams declared a mistrial.
Now it’s only a matter of hours, if not minutes, to see if the ongoing protests will turn destructive as they did in April after Gray’s funeral.
According to the Washington Post:
As news spread outside the courthouse, protesters immediately expressed their dissatisfaction.
“They just declared a mistrial. That means justice has not been found,” Kwame Rose shouted into a bullhorn, adding soon after: ““Do not tell us to protest in peace.”
“Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail,” a crowd of about two dozen chanted.
Moments later, a sheriff’s deputy read a statement that people are free to protest but are not permitted to use bullhorns or assemble in front of the courthouse.
The gatherers continued their chant: “No justice, no peace.”
The jury — made up of what appears to be seven black and five white members — failed to reach unanimity after hearing two weeks of passionate legal arguments and contradictory witness testimony, leaving prosecutors to decide whether to try Officer William G. Porter a second time.
Prosecutors argued that Porter disregarded his duties by not strapping Gray into the van and also failing to seek medical help for Gray after his neck was severed, which led to his death a week later.
Defense attorneys argued that Porter did nothing wrong.
Listen to the podcasts below by James A. MacArthur of the Baltimore Spectator, who predicts there will be no riots, but acknowledges tensions will remain high between police and citizens.
The other cops will not go on trial until next year. On Thursday, prosecutors will meet with the judge and Porter to pick a retrial date.
He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.