Last April, the city of Baltimore was in a frenzied state as information surfaced about the death of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray was a citizen of Baltimore who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while locked in the back of a police van with no seat belt while the van took a deliberately speedy and circuitous route. Officer William G. Porter is the first of the six officers involved in the murder to go to trial. His case ended today with a mistrial, much to the dismay of Freddie Gray supporters.
Officer Porter faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. According to officials, the driver of the van had stopped the vehicle and asked Officer Porter to check on the prisoner. Officer Porter entered the back of the van to help Freddie Gray. When Officer Porter asked Freddie Gray if he needed medical assistance, Gray responded that he did. However, Officer Porter helped Gray onto a bench but did not take action to seek medical assistance.
Today, the judge of Officer Porter’s trial has declared a mistrial after the jurors were deadlocked and unable to provide a unanimous verdict on any of the four charges levied against Officer Porter. The prosecution and administrative defense attorneys will appear in court tomorrow to set a new trial date. Officer Porter faces a 10-year prison sentence and has a bail set at $350,000. All six officers are currently suspended without pay.
Meanwhile, Freddie Gray’s family and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have been calling for calm from protesters. The family of Freddie Gray stated that they are very happy for all the support they’ve received. Reading from a statement, Richard Shipley, Gray’s grandfather, stated: “We are hopeful that (Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn) Mosby will retry Officer Porter as soon as possible, and that his next jury will reach a verdict. Once again, we ask the public to remain calm and patient, because we are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm. You should be calm, too.” According to Andrew Alperstein, a Baltimore defense attorney and former prosecutor, the trial ended in a hung jury because the case was “confusing,” he said, “confusing, and the evidence against this particular officer was unique, and it was different than the other defendants.” Bill Murphy, the Gray family’s lawyer, stressed that just because the case ended in mistrial doesn’t mean that it is over. We will all have to wait for the new trial date to see what is decided for Officer Porter.
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