On December 16th, the judge declared a mistrial after the jurors could not come to a verdict in the William Porter case.
The prosecution had alleged that Officer Porter ignored Gray’s request for medical help and that he failed to put a seat belt on the shackled Mr.Gray during a lengthy police van ride to the police station. Police policy required a seat belt for any passenger in a police van. Porter testified that he had never secured any inmate with a seat belt since joining the Baltimore police force in 2010. Porter faced charges of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. Officer Porter was one of six police officers charged separately in the death of Freddy Gray.
Freddie Gray, a 25-year old Baltimore black man suffered severe injuries during his arrest on April 12, 2015. He died one week later from his injuries. A video revealed Mr. Gray, screaming in pain, while being dragged by two police officers to a police van. He was handcuffed, feet shackled, and was transported in the van–unrestrained ( no seat belt). During the van ride, Mr. Gray fell into a coma from a major spinal injury. Baltimore City States Attorney filed criminal charges against six police officers including officer Porter after the medical examiner ruled that the death was a homicide. Mr. Gray was arrested for possessing an alleged illegal “switchblade.”The case attracted national and international media attention after several days of rioting in Baltimore that followed Mr. Gray’s death.
The prosecution wanted to use Porter as a witness in the trials of the other police officers after his conviction. CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stated,
“A hung jury is a defeat for the prosecution, especially when they needed Porter to make some of these other cases,”… “Now, it’s not impossible that at least some of these other cases can go to trial without Porter, but his testimony was going to be important.”
Toobin noted that the Baltimore prosecutors will have to decide whether to try Porter again or offer him immunity to secure his testimony against the other five police officers.
Baltimore’s Mayor called for peace in the city after the rioting that occurred last spring after Mr. Gray’s death.
The family of Freddy Gray received a civil settlement of 6.4 million from the city of Baltimore.
By: Bradley Schwartz:
Founder of prisonpath.com