Dozens of protesters marched through the streets of Baltimore following the declaration of a mistrial in the Freddie Grey case – the black man whose death in police custody sparked riots in April
The jury which was composed of seven black and five white people, failed to reach a verdict over Officer William Porter’s alleged involvement. Five other policemen are due to stand trial in January.
Prosecuters have said the mistrial is not the end of the matter.
“Hung juries are not unusual. Approximately five percent of all the criminal cases that are tried in the country result in hung juries. Most of them are re-prosecuted. And a high percentage of those cases there is a conviction. And so, this hung jury does not mean it’s the end of Officer Porter’s case, “ said the Gray family’s lawyer Billy Murphy Jr.
Freddie Gray’s death from a broken neck, suffered while the 25-year-old was transported in the back of a police van, became a flash point in a national debate over police use of force, especially against black men. Protests raged for several days forcing officials to declare a state of emergency.
A post mortem report found the neck injury was likely sustained when Gray was slammed into a van wall during breaking or turning a corner. The prosecution insisted Porter could have saved Gray’s life by restraining him and calling for medical help after his injury.
The officer’s lawyer argued that Porter may not have been aware of department policy mandating that detainees be seat-belted, which was put into place shortly before Gray’s arrest.