William Porter was the first of six officers to go to trial in the controversial case

By Tara Fowler
Updated December 16, 2015 04:20 PM
Credit: Rob Carr/Pool Photo/AP

Judge Barry Williams has declared a mistrial in the case of Baltimore police officer William G. Porter, one of six officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, according to multiple reports.

Gray died of a spinal injury while in police custody in April, sparking protests across Baltimore that sometimes turned violent.

Porter was the first of six officers to go to trial in the case. He is charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment for his involvement in Gray’s arrest.

The jury told the judge Tuesday that they were deadlocked, but Williams told them to keep deliberating. When they met again on Wednesday, they requested transcripts of testimony, CNN reports, but were denied.

Later on Wednesday, the jury once again came back to Williams to report that they were hung on all charges. Williams then declared a mistrial, according to NBC Washington.

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Prosecutors will have the opportunity to retry the case with a different jury. During closing arguments Monday, Prosecutor Janice Bledsoe said Porter turned the police van in which Gray was transported into a “casket on wheels” by not buckling him in with a seatbelt and by failing to call an ambulance for him when he said he needed medical aid.

But defense attorney Joseph Murtha emphasized that the state could not specify when Gray was injured, which undermined prosecutors’ claims that Porter had directly caused the 25-year-old’s death.

“You’re making a legal decision, not a moral, not a philosophical, a legal decision,” Murtha said. “You set aside the sympathies, you set aside the passions, you look at the cold hard facts that aren’t there in this case.”

Porter faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Attorneys will go before an administrative judge on Thursday to select a retrial date, according to The Baltimore Sun.