On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Barry G. Williams, residing over the case of William Porter, declared a mistrial. Jurors deliberated more than 16 hours over three days but still could not reach a verdict. Porter, the first of six officers to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. However the jurors could not arrive at a unanimous agreement on any of the four charges.
According to WBLATV, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued this statement minutes after the ruling: “A few minutes ago, Judge Barry G. Williams declared a mistrial in the criminal case of Officer William Porter because the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. It is now up to State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to determine whether to further pursue criminal charges. This is our American system of justice. Twelve Baltimore residents listened to the evidence presented and were unable to render a unanimous decision.
As a unified city, we must respect the outcome of the judicial process. In the coming days, if some choose to demonstrate peacefully to express their opinion, that is their constitutional right. I urge everyone to remember that collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods, and for the residents and businesses of our city. In the case of any disturbance in the city, we are prepared to respond. We will protect our neighborhoods, our businesses and the people of our city.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the city bracing for unrest and school officials attempting to restrained the students right to protest. Baltimore City Schools chief executive Gregory E. Thornton stated,
“Students need to understand that we support their right to express their emotions, and that we will facilitate opportunities for them to do so appropriately.”
He continued, in a letter addressed to parents, families and community leaders, “However, we need to make it clear that student walkouts, vandalism, civil disorder, and any form of violence are not acceptable under any circumstances and that students who participate in such behaviors will face consequences.”