US & Canada

Freddie Gray case: Jurors deadlocked on officer's fate

William Porter walking with one of his lawyers Image copyright AP
Image caption Officer William Porter (right) is one of six officers charged in connection to Freddie Gray's death

Jurors in the case of a Baltimore police officer on trial over a death in custody have been ordered to keep deliberating after they said could not reach a verdict.

Policeman William Porter is the first of six officers charged in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Armoured police were stationed around the city to deter violent protests like those that rocked the city in April.

It is unclear whether the jury is stuck on one or more of the four charges.

The jury resumed deliberating for the rest of the working day on Tuesday before breaking for the night. They will resume on Wednesday.

Those charges include manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct, which could see him sentenced to up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts.

The jury has been deliberating over Officer Porter's guilt or innocence for two days, and is considering over 100 pieces of evidence as well as the testimony of over two dozen witnesses.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Porter's defence team petitioned to have the trial moved and for a mistrial to be declared. Those requests cited a letter sent by the Baltimore schools chief to pupil's parents warning them of consequences if students protested violently in the wake of a verdict.

The jury has not been sequestered, but has been told not to discus the case or follow news reports.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Violent protests broke out across the city after Gray's death

Gray, a young black man, died on 19 April - a week after his neck was broken while riding in the back of a police van with his wrists and ankles cuffed, but while he remained unrestrained.

An autopsy suggested the neck injury was sustained when he likely slammed into a van wall during braking or cornering.

Prosecutors say that Officer Porter could have saved Gray's life by restraining him and by calling for medical help after his injury. Defence lawyers say he is not responsible for Gray's death.

For his part, Mr Porter testified that Gray showed no distress signs before arriving at a police station with critical injuries.

The prosecution said this was a lie and that the van was Gray's coffin on wheels.

The officers' charges

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The six police officers who have been charged (top row from left): Caesar Goodson Jr, Garrett Miller and Edward Nero; bottom row from left: William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White
  • Officer Caesar Goodson: 2nd-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree negligent assault, manslaughter by vehicle by means of gross negligence, manslaughter by vehicle by means of criminal negligence, misconduct in office for failure to secure prisoner and failure to render aid
  • Officer William Porter: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, misconduct in office
  • Lieutenant Brian Rice: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree [second of two similar charges], misconduct in office, false imprisonment
  • Officer Edward Nero: Assault in the 2nd degree (intentional), assault in the 2nd degree (negligent), misconduct in office, false imprisonment
  • Sergeant Alicia White: Involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree assault, misconduct in office
  • Officer Garrett Miller: Intentional Assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree, negligent misconduct in office, false imprisonment

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