Hung jury on all four charges
A hung jury was declared Wednesday on all four charges in the trial of Officer William Porter.
"I do declare this a mistrial," Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said.
Porter is the first of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray to stand trial.
There were no unanimous agreements on any of the four charges, which are involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
The charges carried maximum prison terms of at least 25 years.
An administrative hearing is set for Thursday. Porter does not have to appear.
The jury deliberated for about 16 hours over three days.
Demonstrators converge at Courthouse East
At least one person was arrested as demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse shortly after the hung jury was announced. Demonstrator Kwame Rose was the person arrested, 11 News I-Team reporter Barry Simms reported.
Baltimore City sheriff's deputies were guarding the doors of Courthouse East.
"I'm not happy any officer is on trial, but Freddie Gray is dead and someone has to pay for that," said Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the NAACP Baltimore branch. "I understand people are going to protest, and that is expected. I just hope it is done peacefully."
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement, saying: "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."
Baltimore City Council President Jack Young released a statement, saying: “I would like to thank the 12 residents of the city of Baltimore for their diligent service as jurors in the state’s case against Officer William Porter, who stood trial as a defendant in the death of Freddie Gray. As we begin to process the outcome of this case ending in a mistrial, let us respect the efforts of the men and women of the jury. As Baltimore continues to heal from April’s unrest, I would ask that the citizens of Baltimore, and her guests, continue to engage in peaceful and constructive dialogue and actions that serve to improve our great city."
Jury was deadlocked on second day of deliberations
Jurors told the judge Tuesday afternoon that they were deadlocked. The judge re-read instructions and sent jurors back to the jury room. "You must decide the case for yourself," the judge told jurors. The jury did not say on which of four charges they are deadlocked.
The defense asked for a mistrial Tuesday morning based on City School CEO Gregory Thornton's letter to parents, saying that administrators will not tolerate students leaving class to demonstrate. The judge denied the motion.
The defense also asked for a change of venue and to voir dire the jury after city schools sent home the letter. The judge denied the motions, saying jurors have been repeatedly advised to take only evidence into account during deliberations.
Williams spent 20 minutes Monday giving the jury instructions. He instructed jurors that they must reach separate verdicts on each of the four charges against Porter.
Williams told jurors that they must decide if Porter's failure to put Gray in a seat belt or get him help is a criminal act.
Trial spanned two weeks
The trial started two weeks ago with three days of jury selection. The prosecution called 16 witnesses, compared to 12 for the defense.
Prosecutors contended that Porter should be held partially responsible for Gray's death, because he didn't place a seat belt on Gray or get him treatment when Gray asked for help.
Defense attorneys have suggested that van driver Officer Caesar Goodson was responsible for Gray's safety, and Porter acted the way that any reasonable officer would have.
Legal experts said proving someone is guilty because of something they didn't do is difficult. In this case, there is no surveillance video inside the van, no witnesses and no unequivocal evidence showing exactly when Gray's neck was broken during the police transport.
"This case is an interesting case, because it evokes a good deal of emotion and visceral response to evidence," said defense attorney Warren Brown, who is observing the trial.
"There has to be some sympathy for Officer Porter for being in a position he found himself in that he did not create. The law and the facts are what the jury is wrestling with right now, and they have to be able to look at Officer Porter's different statements to detectives and the trial jury," University of Maryland Carey School of Law professor Doug Colbert said.
Porter, 26, grew up in east Baltimore. He joined the police force in 2012. Porter was not the arresting officer in the Gray case.
WBALTV.com digital editor Ron Snyder and WBAL NewsRadio 1090 AM reporter Robert Lang contributed to this report