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Baltimore: Freddie Gray case sees hung jury in police officer's trial

Porter's mistrial seems to drag out the case even more

 Aaron Cooper, Carolyn Sung, Ed Payne and Catherine E. Shoichet for CNN report: in the case against Baltimore police officer William Porter a mistrial has been announced. Experts assume that in case legal prosecutors would reinitiate the case, other five officers’ cases might be affected. William Porter was one of six of police officers who are alleged in exceeding official powers while attempting to cease Freddy Gray which resulted in Gray’s death. Now the judge is going to discuss and appoint the date of the new trial, reports court’s spokesperson.

According to the reports, Porter announced that by his opinion the process was not over yet and Gray’s family attorney agreed to this statement. Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather, expressed his hope that Porter would be retried. "We thank this hard-working jury for their service to the public, their quest for justice, their personal sacrifice of their time and effort. We are not at all upset with them, neither should the public be upset. They did the best that they could. We are hopeful that (Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn) Mosby will retry Officer Porter as soon as possible, and that his next jury will reach a verdict. Once again, we ask the public to remain calm and patient, because we are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm; you should be calm, too" – CNN reporters provide Shipley’s quote.

However, Porter along with the police union expressed their readiness to continue pushing for Porter’s exoneration. The police officials claim that now, seven months after the incident, Porter has not become an inch closer to the final resolution and indeed this mass involvement in the case is not pleasant for anyone, but he added that the jury’s decision has to be respected.

Freddie Gray’s prosecutor was disconcerted by the mistrial while other prosecutors who desired to use Porter’s testimony against other offices seemed annoyed. As CNN legal analysts disclosed, since immunity to Porter has not been offered, he would not be able to testify against other five officers. Thus the jury who will be hung for quite a time might very likely overthrow the prosecution because without crucial Porter’s testimony some of the other cases might not even go to trial. However, Gray’s attorney claimed that the postpone does not mean victory for any of the sides. Yet there are two possible decisions to adopt: “whether to keep prosecuting Porter or offer him immunity”, assume CNN reporters.

At the time the city is overtaken by protesters who are flooding the streets repeating the “Serenity Prayer” and chanting “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray”. The death of black Freddie Gray stirred controversy and discontent nationwide. The main idea igniting the protests is whether police use excessive force, especially against African Americans. The city of Baltimore experienced wave of protests after Gray’s funeral and the city major had to issue a statement calling for calm and unity in order not to be defined by the unrest of last spring.

Freddie Gray was deadly harmed while being transported after his arrest on April, 2012. William Porter was obligated to check Gray’s condition on their way to police station. Prosecutors claim that officers should have called a medic sooner and that they should have ensured Gray was wearing a seatbelt. All six police officers involved in the accidents have been suspended. Jurors said that any charges against Porter such as second-degree assault, reckless endangerment or misconduct in office were not unanimously confirmed.

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

The fact that there was a gag order on the case and the prosecutors and defenders alike could not speak freely, suggests that some may be quite concerned about effects of social unrest and protests should the story of the mistrial come out in full.

According to the CNN article, prosecutors are “reluctant” to pursue a new case against Porter. What this means is that he gets to go and no one raises a fuss. The official reason given was that now the defense has too much evidence.

The hung jury that resulted in the mistrial suggests that the jury, as the people of the United States, are still deeply divided on racial issues, decades after the 1960s.

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