Baltimore on edge after hung jury in policeman's manslaughter trial

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Jury Fails To Reach Decision About Freddy Gray's Death


A mistrial was declared on Wednesday in the case of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose killing while in custody sparked riots in April, and the city's mayor urged calm.

The judge dismissed the jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter - the first of six officers to be tried in Gray's death - after 16 hours of deliberations during which the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on any of the charges against the policeman.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said an administrative judge would schedule a new trial, but said there would be no court proceedings in the case on Thursday.

Gray's death triggered rioting in the majority-black city of 620,000 people, and intensified a U.S. debate on police treatment of minorities.

On Wednesday, scores of protesters marched through downtown Baltimore following the ruling, chanting "we have nothing to lose but our chains" and "the whole damn system is guilty as Hell." Uniformed police officers took up positions throughout the city, including by the courthouse and police headquarters, and at least two demonstrators were arrested.

See photos from the scene in Baltimore on Wednesday:

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Protests in response to mistrial in Freddie Gray case, Baltimore
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Baltimore on edge after hung jury in policeman's manslaughter trial
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Protesters march through the streets after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on the third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Protesters confront Baltimore City Police officers as they march through the streets after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on the third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
A protester speaks to policeman in reaction to a mistrial declared in the trial of police officer William Porter in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. The manslaughter trial of a Baltimore policeman accused over the death in custody of African-American Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict, putting the city on edge. Police were out in force in parts of the gritty East Coast city in a bid to avoid a repeat of the riots and looting that erupted after the death in April of the 25-year-old Gray, the latest in a series of high-profile cases of perceived police brutality in the United States. AFP PHOTO/MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters march in Baltimore after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Protesters gather at the site of last Aprils riots after todays mistrial in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on third day of deliberations in PorterÃs trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.Ã (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: A protester holds a sign at the site of last Aprils riots after todays mistrial in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on third day of deliberations in PorterÃs trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.Ã (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Police stand guard as protesters march through the streets hours after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on the third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Protesters march through the streets hours after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Richard Shipley, Freddie Gray'stepfather, left, with Gray's mother Gloria Darden and lawyer Billy Murphy speaks with the media after a mistrial was declared in the manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The Rev. C.D. Witherspoon speaks during a peaceful protest at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania Avenues, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore, the site of unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray. Peaceful protests took place in response to a hung jury and mistrial for Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to Gray's death. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Demonstrators protest outside of the city hall in response to a hung jury and mistrial for Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Protesters march in Baltimore after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest outside of the courthouse after a mistrial was declared in the manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
BALTIMORE MD- DECEMBER 16: Law enforcement warns the displeased protesters that they are breaking the law as they react to the mistrial declared in the Freddie Gray Case at the Baltimore City Circuit County Court for Baltimore officer William G. Porter accused of involuntary manslaughter in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, left, and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, right, during a news conference at police headquarters with other city officials to discuss plans for dealing with the reaction to the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters march around City Hall in Baltimore after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Police stand outside the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse after the hung-jury was announced in the trial of Police Officer William Porter, in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. The manslaughter trial of a Baltimore policeman accused over the death in custody of African-American Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to a reach a verdict, putting the city on edge. AFP PHOTO/ MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
A demonstrator is detained outside of the courthouse after a mistrial of Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Demonstrators protest outside of the courthouse in response to a hung jury and mistrial for Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: A protester yells at members of the Baltimore City Sheriffs Department in front of the Baltimore City City Circuit Courthouse East, after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The judge declared a mistrial on third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
One protestor tries to calm another after officers from the Baltimore Sheriff's Department arrested a protestor across the street from Courthouse East following the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Officers from the Baltimore Sheriff's Department try to secure the area as they arrest a protestor across the street from Courthouse East after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
A demonstrator holds a sign during the trial of Police Officer William Porter at Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. AFP PHOTO/MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters react outside Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse after the hung-jury was announced in the trial of Police Officer William Porter, in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. The manslaughter trial of a Baltimore policeman accused over the death in custody of African-American Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to a reach a verdict, putting the city on edge. AFP PHOTO/ MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Officers from the Baltimore Sheriff's Department arrest a protestor across the street from Courthouse East after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddie Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
A demonstrator holds a sign during the trial of Police Officer William Porter at Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. AFP PHOTO/MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police arrest a protester outside Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse after the hung-jury was announced in the trial of Police Officer William Porter, in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. The manslaughter trial of a Baltimore policeman accused over the death in custody of African-American Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to a reach a verdict, putting the city on edge. AFP PHOTO/ MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16: Protesters hold signs in front of the Baltimore City City Circuit Courthouse East, while a jury continues deliberations in Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter's trial, December 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The jury is in its third day of deliberations in Porter's trial, which is the first of six trials of police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Protesters march along Calver Street in Baltimore, outside the courthouse after the announcement of a hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter in the Freddy Gray case, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Police stand outside the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse after the hung-jury was announced in the trial of Police Officer William Porter, in Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2015. The manslaughter trial of a Baltimore policeman accused over the death in custody of African-American Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to a reach a verdict, putting the city on edge. AFP PHOTO/ MOLLY RILEY / AFP / MOLLY RILEY (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)
CORRECTS WORD MISDEMEANOR TO MANSLAUGHTER - Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis, left, urges calm as he speaks at a press conference alongside Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Baltimore, following a hung jury and mistrial in the manslaughter trial Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Another group of protesters gathered in Gray's neighborhood, near where a drug store was burned during the rioting, where they expressed disappointment at the outcome.

"I think everyone in Baltimore wanted a conviction," said Westley West, the pastor of the Faith Empowered Ministries Church, who is black. "I feel it sends a bad message and gives the police hope that they will get away with brutality."

Gray's family and officials, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, called for calm, eager to avoid a replay of the unrest that followed Gray's death.

"We are confident there will be another trial with a different jury," said Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley. "We are calm; you should be calm too."

Porter, 26, was charged in Gray's death from a broken neck suffered while the 25-year-old man was transported in the back of a police van.

The jury of five men and seven women had said on Tuesday that it was deadlocked, but Williams had told them to keep trying to reach a verdict.

Porter, who like Gray is black, was charged for having put Gray in the back of the van without seat-belting him and with being too slow to pass on his request for medical assistance.

The officer's attorneys had argued that Porter may have been unaware of department policy mandating that detainees be seat-belted, which was put into place shortly before Gray's arrest.

Baltimore officials had come under heavy criticism for a restrained initial response to the rioting, which some observers contended allowed arson and looting to spiral out of control.

The death and its aftermath followed the police killings of black men in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, which also sparked protests, helping to spark the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

LEGAL EXPERTS WEIGH IN

Porter was also charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The charges against the other officers range from second-degree murder for the van's driver, to misconduct.

Gray was arrested after fleeing from police. He was put in a transport van, shackled and handcuffed, but was not secured by a seat belt, in violation of department policy. He died a week later.

Porter testified Gray told him he needed medical aid. Porter told the van's driver and a supervisor that Gray had asked for aid but none was summoned, according to testimony.

The defense argued that Porter did not believe Gray was seriously injured until the van's final stop. His lawyers have said that Porter acted as any reasonable officer would have.

Warren Brown, a Baltimore defense lawyer who was in the courtroom, said he was not surprised by Wednesday's decision.

"I think you will have the same scenario with the other trials," Brown said.

Seven jurors were black and five were white.

Another legal expert said he was surprised to see a mistrial declared on just the third day of deliberations.

"I thought the judge would never declare a mistrial absent a fistfight until the jury had been deliberating for six or seven days," said Jim Cohen, a professor at Fordham Law School in New York. "They chose the wrong defendant to try first."

Odessa Rose, a 49-year-old Maryland state employee, also said she was not surprised by the outcome.

"I knew it was going to be hard on both sides. It was a difficult case; it was hard," Rose, who is black, said outside the courthouse. "I feel for the state and I feel for the family of Freddie Gray."

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