BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The jury sends a note to the judge that says they are deadlocked in the Officer William Porter trial. The judge then tells them to go back and to try again. They did so, and they have gone home for the evening now and will return Wednesday morning to continue their deliberations.
Porter is one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. He is facing charges of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with the latest on the jury deliberations.
It is common when jurors say they are deadlocked for a judge to give them more time, and that is exactly what he is doing. They looked dour when they came back into the courtroom. Anything could happen at this point.
Jurors sent the first note that they were deadlocked after roughly nine hours of deliberations. The judge ordered them to keep working.
“When do you think we could get to the point where we should start to be concerned about whether this jury can come up with a verdict?”
“Thursday or Friday would be a time when there might be signs that the jury is having difficulty reaching a decision on all four charges,” said University of Maryland law professor Doug Colbert.
Judge Barry Williams denied a request from Officer William Porter’s attorneys for a mistrial. They were upset about a letter from the head of city schools, where he wrote he was very concerned about possible civil unrest following a verdict.
But the judge believes it won’t influence jurors. He denied the request for a mistrial and another for a change of venue.
“What the judge wants to avoid is to interfere with the sanctity of the jury deliberation room,” said Colbert.
Deliberations started just after 2:30 p.m. Monday. The jurors are in a room with no access to phones.
“I’m not nervous, I just think justice needs to prevail for the family, and mainly for Freddie and for his family, and the city wants justice,” said Tessa Hill Aston, Baltimore NAACP.
Law professor Doug Colbert on what’s going on in that jury room.
“They’re exchanging ideas, they’re trying to persuade one another of whether Officer Porter should be found guilty or not guilty. And the fact that it’s one of those rare occasions when a police officer is on trial, that’s requiring the jury to be particularly meticulous and thorough,” said Colbert.
Lawyers for both sides have stuck close to the courthouse, as everyone watches and waits for a verdict.
The jury resumes deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.