First trial over the death of Freddie Gray ends in hung jury | News | DW | 16.12.2015
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First trial over the death of Freddie Gray ends in hung jury

The manslaughter trial of over the death of a young black man in Baltimore has ended without a verdict. Injuries to Freddie Gray incurred in police custody had sparked widespread unrest.

The first trial over the death of Freddie Gray ended in a mistrial on Wednesday. After more than 15 hours of deliberations, jurors told Baltimore Judge Barry Williams that they found it impossible to reach a consensus over whether city police officer William Porter was culpable in Gray's death.

Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appealed for calm following the announcement. Small groups of demonstrators gathered near the courthouse chanting slogans like "no justice, no peace" and "black lives matter," but in comparison to the widespread unrest immediately after Gray's death in April, the streets of Baltimore were relatively peaceful.

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Porter had been on trial for charges of manslaughter and assault after the 25-year-old Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby has alleged that the officers were engaging in "rough-riding," a form of police brutality where officers drive recklessly with in a handcuffed suspect who is otherwise not properly secured in the back of a police car.

The charges against Porter could carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Gray's death highlighted growing concern over the treatment of black Americans by police officers which was touched off in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 with the death of teenager Michael Brown.

The jury of five men and seven women deciding Porter's fate came once to Judge Williams on Tuesday to say they were hopelessly deadlocked, but the judge order them to continue deliberating.

After declaring the mistrial, Judge Williams said he might announce a new trial schedule as early as Thursday.

es/bw (AP, Reuters)

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