The judge in the trial for the first of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision, a blow to the prosecution who saw this case as one of their better chances at getting a conviction.
A mistrial means the trial is over and no official verdict has been made. Now it is up to the prosecution to decide if they will retry the case with a new jury or drop the charges.
The jury sent a note to the judge Tuesday saying they were split and the judge instructed them to go back to deliberations.
Closing arguments finished Monday. The final outcome of the case could reignite riots like those in April, and will likely be the biggest ruling since Ferguson officer Darren Wilson was cleared of all charges. The city has already revoked vacation time for police officers to prepare for a possible riot.
Police arrested Gray in April and transported him in the back of a police van. The details are unclear with conflicting accounts, but Gray appeared healthy when arrested and was severely injured within an hour after his encounter with police. His spinal cord was severely damaged and he died a week later from the injuries.
Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, 26, is the first of six officers to be tried. All will be tried separately. Porter, who is black, is charged with reckless endangerment, misconduct, assault and involuntary manslaughter. Although he did not arrest Gray, he is accused of not properly buckling him into the van, which may have allowed him to slide around in the back, potentially causing the injury.
The other five trials are scheduled for next year.
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