Jurors deliberated for more than 16 hours over a three-day period but could not reach a unanimous decision in the case of the first Baltimore police officer to face trial in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after suffering injuries while in custody of the police. On Wednesday, a judge declared a mistrial.
Judge Barry G. Williams declared the mistrial during the third day of deliberations. “You clearly have been diligent,” he told the jurors. “You are a hung jury.”
The mistrial was declared roughly 24 hours after the jury said they were deadlocked on manslaughter and other charges. Williams instructed them to keep trying, USA Today reports.
William Porter is just one of six police officers charged in the case. Porter, 26, could have faced 25 years in jail if convicted of assault, manslaughter, misconduct and reckless engagement.
And prosecutors could elect to retry him, according to USA Today. However, it is unclear whether a mistrial will happen, so the court has an administrative hearing scheduled Thursday to potentially schedule a new court date, ABC reports.
As news spread beyond the courthouse, protesters expressed how dissatisfied they were with the results.
“They just declared a mistrial. That means justice has not been found,” Kwame Rose shouted to protesters through a bullhorn. She added, “Do not tell us to protest in peace.”
A crowd of more than 20 people said, “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail.”
Just a few minutes later, the crowd was told that they are free to protest but not with bullhorns and not in front of the courthouse.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement asking for calm and pledging to protect the city.
“Twelve Baltimore residents listened to the evidence presented and were unable to render a unanimous decision,” said Rawlings-Blake. “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. 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.”
Police department officials cancelled all time off this week in case a verdict is reached.
Gray died in April from a severe spinal injury; he was arrested when he fled from officers. The 25-year-old suffered the injury while being transported after his arrest. Porter was accused of not securing Gray into the seat belt of the police van. He also allegedly failed to get Gray any medical help, but the vehicle Gray was in made several stops in Baltimore on the way to the station.