Eyes have once again turned to Baltimore, after a mistrial was declared in the case of an officer charged in the death of resident Freddie Gray. Unable to come to a unanimous decision, a judge was forced to dismiss a jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter, one of six officers arrested in connection with the death of Gray.
According to Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams, an administrative judge could schedule a new trial later this week. Fearing a reprisal of the protests that rocked the city last April, officials are already preparing for backlash, as demonstrators began chanting “no justice, no peace” shortly after the verdict was revealed.
Earlier this year, Gray’s death was added to the growing list of individuals killed at the hands of police; sparking outrage after the 25-year-old died while being transported during a notorious procedure known as a “rough ride.” Critics charge that police had a duty to safely restrain Gray while in their custody, and that failing to do so resulted in the injuries that later led to his death.
Allegations against Porter include the assertion that he failed to respond to Gray’s cries for help after he was placed in the van with no seatbelt. No medic was called either. Meanwhile, the former officer’s lawyer’s insist that Porter could not have prevented Gray’s death.
Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for peace following the verdict, stating that “In the case of any disturbance in the city we are prepared to respond.”