This afternoon a judge declared a mistrial after the jury failed to come to a verdict on the four charges that had been laid against Baltimore Police Officer William Porter in the death of Freddie Gray in April. Porter, who is black, had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He was one of six officers charged in Gray’s death. The other five officers charged have yet to face trial.
It is expected a new trial date will be set for Porter as early as tomorrow. Despite this Baltimore is bracing for demonstrations and possibly a repeat of the riots which occurred in downtown Baltimore this past spring. If violence does come to pass again it will only demonstrate that Baltimore’s black community wants vengeance, not justice.
Baltimore has been plagued with violence this year. There have been more than 300 murders in 2015. Last month, Baltimore reached its highest per capita murder rate since 1993. These murders have been exacerbated with the increased scrutiny of the Baltimore PD.
Perhaps the only good thing that has come of this process has been the gag order that was imposed on both the prosecution and the defense back in October and is applicable in the trials of all six police officers. The gag order has neutralized the demagoguery of Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Otherwise, the consequences of today’s verdict could have been much worse. But we shall see what happens over the course of the next few days.