Baltimore police officer William Porter stands in the courtroom after a mistrial was declared in his trial on manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct charges in the death of Freddie Gray, December 16, 2015, in Baltimore. BILL HENNESSY JR.
Freddie Gray’s family called for calm after the mistrial was declared — and they got it.
As marchers trooped through the streets of downtown Baltimore, people in Gray’s west Baltimore neighborhood linked arms peacefully and vowed to turn the page, away from the unrest seen in the spring.
“I hope the world sees that not all places are transparent and Baltimore is not the way it was conveyed,” one marcher said.
After three days of deliberations, the 12 members of the jury couldn’t come up with a verdict in the trial of Officer William Porter, the first of six police officers to be tried for involvement in Gray’s death.
Minutes after the mistrial was announced, officers stationed outside of the courthouse grabbed a teenage activist by his neck and took him down, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. Another well-known protester was also arrested for disorderly conduct.
“Protesters who are lawfully assembled have a friend in the Baltimore Police Department. We are here to serve as peacekeepers, quite frankly,” Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis said.
Baltimore police arrested Freddie Gray April 12 for what they called possession of “an illegal switchblade.” The 25-year-old died a week later from injuries he suffered during a “rough ride” in a police van.
Officer William Porter was with Gray during five of the six stops that the van made, and he did not buckle Gray in, according to prosecutors, ignoring police department guidelines.
The jury was comprised of five white and seven black people. They deliberated for 16 hours over three days, but told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked, unable to agree on any of the four charges against Officer Porter.
“We are not at all upset with them, and neither should the public be upset. They did the best they could,” Gray’s step-father Richard Shipley said.
In September, Gray’s family accepted a $6.4 million dollar wrongful death settlement from the city.
Congressman Elijah Cummings is confident the officer will face another jury.
“I have it on good authority, that the case will be retried…justice is about a process. And that process has begun to turn,” Cummings said.
Because of the mistrial, the next officer’s trial, scheduled for January 6, could be pushed back. Gray family attorneys and prosecutors are expected to meet in private with the trial judge sometime Thursday. They have not announced if they will retry Officer Porter.