Baltimore police officer William Porter was one jury vote away from being acquitted of the most serious charge — involuntary manslaughter — in his trial last month in the death of Freddie Gray.
Porter, 26, was the first of six officers to go on trial in the case. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, he faced charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office for his role in the April 12 arrest of the 25-year-old Gray. The known drug dealer was handcuffed and placed without other restraints in the back of a police van. He sustained a head and neck injury during the van ride and died a week later.
His death touched off riots in Baltimore and nationwide protests over police brutality.
Porter, who joined the force in 2012, first encountered Gray after the driver of the police van, Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., called him for assistance. Prosecutors alleged that Porter failed to properly restrain Gray and declined to provide medical assistance when Gray asked for it.
But jurors could not agree on any of the charges, forcing judge Barry G. Williams to declare a mistrial. Porter is scheduled to be re-tried in June.
According to The Baltimore Sun, one of the jurors involved in the case said that the jury voted 11-1 in favor of acquitting Porter of involuntary manslaughter.
The jury, which was made up of four black women, three black men, three white women and two white men, voted 8-2 in favor of acquitting Porter, who is black, of second-degree assault. Two jurors were undecided on that count, according to The Sun.
The panel was split in favor of conviction on two counts, however. The jury split 7-3 in favor of convicting Porter of reckless endangerment. Two members were undecided. Ten jurors were in favor of convicting Porter of misconduct in office. One supported acquittal, and another was undecided.
According to The Sun, several jurors who voted to acquit Porter of involuntary manslaughter initially voted for conviction.
Prosecutors in the case have not indicated if the jury vote breakdown will change their approach to the case. The prosecutor’s office, led by Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, has also not said if any of the charges against Porter — such as the heavily opposed involuntary manslaughter charge — will be dropped from his next trial.
But prosecutors hope to use Porter as a witness against the other five officers to be tried in the case, including Goodson Jr., who faces a charge of second-degree depraved heart murder.
Prosecutors have asked the court to force Porter to testify against his colleagues. But his defense team filed an appeal, which is currently pending before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
That appeal has slowed derailed the state’s trial timeline. While prosecutors had hoped to try Goodson Jr. this month, arguments in the appeal won’t be heard until March.