After more than 16 hours of deliberations over the course of three days, Judge Barry Glenn Williams has declared a mistrial in the case of Officer William Porter, 26. The jury consisted of four Black women, three Black men, three white women and two white men and could not reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges against Porter.
Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
Gray was arrested in April and endured a “rough ride” at the hands of Porter and five other officers. He was not secured in the back of the police van and was denied medical assistance when he asked. He suffered a spinal cord injury and succumbed to his injuries several days later.
It is currently unknown whether the prosecution, which has been under scrutiny for trying the case so quickly, will retry Porter at a later date.
The prosecution put heavy emphasis on Porter’s failure to secure Gray in the back of the police van. The defense, meanwhile, described Porter as a “reasonable officer” and said that not fastening seatbelts of suspects is a common practice by Baltimore police.
Earlier in the day, the jury requested a transcript of witness testimony, although which witness was not clear. The judge denied this request.
The judge also denied the defense’s motion to move the trial outside of Baltimore. Porter’s team did not believe he would receive a fair trial in Baltimore due to the massive media coverage the case has received since Gray’s death in April.
Prior to the announcement of the verdict, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had called for calm in the city regardless of the trial’s outcome. Following the verdict, she asked for the same thing:
“This is our American system of justice,” she said in a statement via Twitter. “Twelve Baltimore residents listened to the evidence presented and were unable to render a unanimous decision. As a unified city, we must respect the outcome of the judicial process. In the coming days, if some choose to demonstrate peacefully to express their opinion, that is their constitutional right,” she said. “I urge everyone to remember that collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods, and for the residents and businesses of our city.”
But demonstrations began immediately after the announcement. Just outside the courthouse, a protestor announced the verdict and said, “Justice has not been served.”
Demonstrators responded with cries of, “No justice, no peace!” and “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray!”
The defense and prosecution will meet in court again tomorrow morning to set a new trial date.