Hung Jury in First Freddie Gray Trial

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By: CBS News
December 16, 2015

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore jury declared a mistrial in the case of the first police officer to stand trial over the death of Freddie Gray, whose injury in police custody sparked weeks of protests and fueled the nation's scrutiny of how police treat black suspects.

Officer William Porter's trial was the first test of prosecutors' case against six officers in a city struggling to rein in violent crime.

The case hinged not on what Porter did, but what prosecutors said he didn't do.

He was accused of failing to get medical help for a critically wounded Gray and was charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. The charges carried maximum prison terms totaling 25 years.

It was not immediately clear whether Porter would be tried again. An administrative hearing was scheduled for Thursday to discuss a possible retrial date.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake immediately appealed for calm after the verdict.

"As a unified city, we must respect the outcome of the judicial process," Rawlings-Blake said.

She said in the case of any disturbance in the city, authorities are prepared to respond.

Upon learning of the mistrial, protesters chanted "no justice, no peace" outside the courthouse.

After court adjourned, Porter conferred solemnly with defense attorney Joseph Murtha and walked from the courtroom. A female supporter joined Porter on a marble bench in a corner of the hallway. Courthouse deputies blocked reporters from approaching them.

Murtha declined comment, citing a judicial gag order. Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who brought charges against six officers in the arrest and death of Gray, also declined comment.

The jury said yesterday it was deadlocked in the case of Porter, but Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams sent them back to talk it over more.

The announcement of the hung jury came Wednesday afternoon, after the city had spent days worrying about the repeat of civil unrest following Gray's death.

CBS Baltimore reports Williams previously decided the jury would not be sequestered, but would remain anonymous for the trial. It took two days to find the 12 jurors on the case -- 5 black women, 3 black men, 3 white women, 1 white man and alternates 3 white men, 1 black man.

The judge told the jurors they had "clearly been diligent" before he dismissed them.

As the decision was announced a handful of protesters gathered outside the courthouse.

Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a police van with his wrists and ankles shackled.

Gray's death set of riots around Baltimore, and highlighted a police department that many citizens say is abusive. As a result, many local officials feel the outcome of Porter's trial could touch off unrest again.

CBS affiliate WJZ reported defense attorneys asked for a mistrial and change of venue Tuesday morning because of a letter sent by Baltimore City schools. In it, the city schools CEO said he was very concerned about possible city unrest. Defense attorneys said some jurors may have gotten it because they are parents and it could influence their decision. The judge denied the motions, saying he wasn't concerned about that.

Armored vehicles and police were stationed around the city ahead of any verdict. Baltimore County Public School spokesman Mychael Dickerson said Tuesday that the school system is postponing, and in some cases canceling, field trips and events in Baltimore city through Friday. The county surrounds most of the city and extends north to Maryland's border with Pennsylvania.


By: Associated Press
May 21, 2015

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The state's attorney in Baltimore says all six officers charged in the police-custody death of Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury.

State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby made the announcement Thursday. The charges returned by the grand jury were similar to the charges Mosby announced about three weeks ago.

Mosby has said Gray's neck was broken because he was injured while being handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into a police van. She says his pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored.

Gray was arrested April 12. He died in a hospital a week later and became a symbol of what protesters say was police brutality against blacks.


By: Associated Press
May 1, 2015 - 10:10 p.m.

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Shortly after curfew, Baltimore police are arresting people gathered at the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues.

Leading up to 10 p.m., more than 100 people were dancing in the streets and chanting "Freddie" to celebrate charges against six officers in connection with Freddie Gray's death.

Meanwhile, a helicopter was hovering overhead and warning people that they were subject to arrest while people danced atop a truck in the middle of the intersection.

Pleas from police to reporters to confine themselves to a special media pen were largely ignored.


By: Associated Press
May 1, 2015

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Court records indicate that the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have been released on bonds of between $250,000 and $350,000.

The six had turned themselves in at the city jail Friday afternoon after the city's chief prosecutor announced the charges against them.

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby says Gray's death was a homicide, his arrest was illegal and his treatment amounted to murder and manslaughter.

An attorney speaking on behalf of the officers says the charges are a rush to judgment.


By: Associated Press
May 1, 2015

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Baltimore's top prosecutor announced criminal charges Friday against all six officers suspended after a man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody, saying "no one is above the law."

"Mr. Gray's death was a homicide," State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby declared. His arrest was illegal and his treatment in custody amounted to murder and manslaughter, she said.

The announcement came after nearly two weeks of growing anger over Freddie Gray's death, and only hours after State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby received the results of a police investigation.

Mosby announced the stiffest charge -- second-degree "depraved heart" murder -- against the driver of the police van. Other officers face charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault and illegal arrest.

Mosby said the switchblade officers accused Gray of illegally carrying clipped inside his pants pocket was in fact a legal knife, and no justification for his arrest.

Mosby said she comes from five generations of police officers, and that the charges against these six officers should in no way damage the relationship between police and prosecutors in Baltimore.

Her announcement came as the city braced for two move waves of protests Friday and Saturday focused on the case.


By: Associated Press
April 30, 2015

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Baltimore police say nearly 100 officers have been hurt since violence broke out in the city on Monday.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk says more than 40 officers required some sort of treatment at the hospital. Protesters have been throwing bricks, bottles and other items at officers trying to contain demonstrations.

People in the city are upset over the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered critical injuries while he was in police custody.

Police say nearly a dozen people were arrested last night after curfew.


By: CBS News
April 29, 2015

BALTIMORE -- A line of police behind riot shields hurled tear gas canisters and fired pepper balls at as many as 200 protesters Tuesday night to enforce a citywide curfew, imposed after the worst outbreak of rioting in Baltimore since 1968.

Demonstrators threw bottles at police and picked up the canisters and hurled them back at officers.

But the crowd rapidly dispersed and was down to just a few dozen people within minutes.

The city's streets remained quiet overnight.

The confrontation came after a day of high tension but mostly peaceful protests, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues. There was even singing and dancing.

Thousands of police officers and National Guardsmen poured in to try to prevent another round of looting and arson like the one that rocked the city on Monday.

It was the first time since the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 that the National Guard was called out in Baltimore to quell unrest.

The racially charged violence on Monday was set off by the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances while in police custody.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said 2,000 Guardsmen and 1,000 law officers would be in place overnight.

"This combined force will not tolerate violence or looting," he warned.

In a measure of how tense things were on Tuesday, Baltimore was under a 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. It is expected to last a week.

All public schools were closed in Baltimore Tuesday. The Orioles postponed Tuesday night's game at Camden Yards and - in what may be a first in baseball's 145-year history - announced that Wednesday's game will be closed to the public.

The streets were largely calm all day and into the evening, with only a few scattered arrests.

The message was loud and clear in the moments leading up to the curfew, Pegues says.

Self-appointed peacekeepers pleaded with people to get off the streets.

Among them, Congressman Elijah Cummings and Vietnam veteran Robert Valentine.

"Y'all want to go home now, don't want to see you in trouble," Valentine said. " ... It's not worth it. You cannot prove anything with your anger. If you use your mind and do it pacify you can get further. Sit down to the table and talk."

A recorded message was blasted across the city, on the ground and in the sky, warning people to go home.

About 15 minutes after the 10 p.m. curfew took effect, police moved against protesters who remained in the street in the city's Penn North section, near where a CVS pharmacy was looted the day before.

Shortly before the curfew and in a different neighborhood, police arrested three to four juveniles in South Baltimore after people started attacking officers with rocks and bricks, authorities said. At least one officer was reported injured.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters late Tuesday the curfew seemed to be working.

He said only 10 people had been arrested following start of the curfew, including seven for violating the curfew. He said two people were arrested for looting and one for disorderly conduct.

Batts said he was pleased with the efforts of dozens of community organizers, clergy and neighborhood activists who urged residents to remain calm.

"The curfew is, in fact, working," Batts said. "Citizens are safe. The city is stable. We hope to maintain it that way."

Monday's outbreak of looting, arson and rock- and bottle-throwing by mostly black rioters erupted just hours after Gray's funeral.

It was the worst such violence in the U.S. since the unrest last year over the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

At the White House Tuesday, President Obama called the deaths of several black men around the country at the hands of police "a slow-rolling crisis." But he added that there was "no excuse" for the violence in Baltimore, and said the rioters should be treated as criminals.

"They aren't protesting. They aren't making a statement. They're stealing," the president said.

Political leaders and residents called the violence a tragedy for the city and lamented the damage done by the rioters to their own neighborhoods.

"I had officers come up to me and say, 'I was born and raised in this city. This makes me cry,"' Batts said.

Haywood McMorris, manager of the wrecked CVS store, said the destruction didn't make sense: "We work here, man. This is where we stand, and this is where people actually make a living."

But the rioting also brought out a sense of civic pride and responsibility in many Baltimore residents, with hundreds of volunteers turning out to sweep the streets of glass and other debris with brooms and trash bags donated by hardware stores.

"Now you're looking at burnt down store fronts, broken glass. It's senseless," Mira Keene told CBS Baltimore.

Twenty-four hours after the violence, a different message was spreading, the station said.

Tuesday night, dozens of protestors marched through the streets of West Baltimore, calling for peace in the city. "This is where we live at. They destroyed where we live," Tia Sexton told CBS Baltimore.

Blanca Tapahuasco brought her three sons, ages 2 to 8, from another part of the city to help clean up the brick-and-pavement courtyard outside the CVS.

"We're helping the neighborhood build back up," she said. "This is an encouragement to them to know the rest of the city is not just looking on and wondering what to do."

Some of the same neighborhoods that rose up this week burned for days after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 47 years ago. At least six people died then, and some neighborhoods still bear the scars.

Jascy Jones of Baltimore said the sight of National Guardsmen on the street gave her a "very eerie feeling."

"It brought a tear to my eye. Seeing it doesn't feel like the city that I love," she said. "I am glad they're here, but it's hard to watch."

The rioting started in West Baltimore on Monday afternoon and by midnight had spread to East Baltimore and neighborhoods close to downtown and near the baseball stadium.

At least 20 officers were hurt, one person was critically injured in a fire, more than 200 adults and 34 juveniles were arrested, and nearly 150 cars were burned, police said. The governor had no immediate estimate of the damage.

With the city bracing for more trouble, several colleges closed early Tuesday, including Loyola University Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and Towson University.

The violence set off soul-searching among community leaders and others, with some suggesting the unrest was about more than race or the police department - it was about high unemployment, high crime, poor housing, broken-down schools and lack of opportunity in Baltimore's inner-city neighborhoods.

The city of 622,000 is 63 percent black. The mayor, state's attorney, police chief and City Council president are black, as is 48 percent of the police force.

"You look around and see unemployment. Filling out job applications and being turned down because of where you live and your demographic. It's so much bigger than the police department," said Robert Stokes, 36, holding a broom and a dustpan on a corner where some of the looting and vandalism took place.

He added: "This place is a powder keg waiting to explode."

In the aftermath of the riots, state and local authorities found themselves facing questions about whether they let things spin out of control.

Batts, the police commissioner, said police did not move in faster because those involved in the early stages were just "kids" - teenagers who had just been let out of school.

"Do you want people using force on 14- 15- and 16-year-old kids that are out there?" he asked. "They're old enough to know better. But they're still kids. And so we had to take that into account while we were out there."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake waited hours to ask the governor to declare a state of emergency, and the governor hinted she should have come to him earlier.

"We were trying to get in touch with the mayor for quite some time," Hogan said. "She finally made that call, and we immediately took action."

Rawlings-Blake said officials initially thought they had the unrest under control.

Gray was arrested April 12 after running away at the sight of police, authorities said. He was held down, handcuffed and loaded into a police van. Leg cuffs were put on him when he became irate inside. He died a week later.

Authorities said they are still investigating how and when he suffered the spinal injury - during the arrest or while he was in the van, where authorities say he was riding without being belted in, a violation of department policy.

Six officers have been suspended with pay in the meantime.


By: Associated Press
April 28, 2015

BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Baltimore mayor's office says there were 144 vehicle fires, 15 structures fires and nearly 200 arrests in the unrest that broke out in the city.

Spokesman Howard Libit gave the updated numbers Tuesday morning.

Rioting erupted around the city Monday, hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old died of a spinal injury days after being taken into police custody.

National Guard troops took up positions in the city, and cleanup was beginning early Tuesday morning.

Early Tuesday morning, aerial footage of Baltimore showed a firefighter spraying the burnt out shell of a large building as an American flag fluttered nearby on an untouched building.

The Maryland Transit Administration says it's bypassing several subway stations and closing at least one bus station because of police activity in areas of Baltimore.

The transit agency announced its changes in service Tuesday morning. Public schools in the city are closed for the day, and several neighboring districts said they would cancel any scheduled field trips to Baltimore.


By: CBS News
April 27, 2015

Officers in riot gear spread out across Baltimore on Monday immediately following the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died from unexplained spinal injuries suffered during police custody.

Gray's family had appealed for peace after demonstrations against police brutality and Gray's death turned violent Saturday evening. They asked protesters to hold off on demonstrating until Gray could be laid to rest.

Demonstrators appeared to have taken that plea literally, as helicopters began capturing footage of groups of varying size hurling bricks and bottles at lines of heavily armored officers in multiple locations.

A flier circulated on social media called for a period of violence Monday afternoon to begin at the Mondawmin Mall and move downtown toward City Hall.

An official with the Baltimore Police Department said Monday afternoon that seven officers have been severely injured so far, including one who was rendered unconscious.

The group in the area of Gwynns Falls & Liberty Heights has become very aggressive and violent. We are continuing to deploy resources.

— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) April 27, 2015
Despite having rocks, bricks, and other items thrown at us - officers are using fire extinguishers to put out small fires in the area.

— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) April 27, 2015
A large group has surrounded a police car at North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. The group is destroying the police car

— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) April 27, 2015
Numerous police officers in riot gear responded to a mall in northwest Baltimore, which was closed.

CBS Baltimore reports that a line of officers with helmets and face shields blocking off the mall's parking lot. Some people were throwing objects at officers and a police armored vehicle.

The University of Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore shut down its campus at 2 p.m., saying it was warned by the Baltimore Police Department that "activities" in the area may turn violent.

In an alert to students and staff, the university says "the safety of our students and employees is of paramount importance. Please vacate the campus as soon as possible."

School spokesman Alex Likowski said he didn't know what type of activity might be passing through campus or what prompted the warning from police.

The university's main campus is in College Park, about 30 miles south of Baltimore.



 
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