BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The trial of Officer William Porter ends in a mistrial. Now there are questions about what happens next.
Tracey Leong with preparations for possible problems.
Baltimore’s leaders are uniting to keep the peace. The mayor and police commissioner are asking the city to respect the jury’s decision and to keep demonstrations peaceful.
Protesters flooded the streets moments after a mistrial was announced in Officer William Porter’s trial in the death of Freddie Gray.
“For the protesters… We respect the right of Americans to protest,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis, Baltimore City Police Department.
City leaders and police were supporting protesters voicing frustrations in a peaceful manner, but threatening to punish those who disobey the law.
“Folks who choose to commit crimes and hurt people and break things and harm people are no longer protesters. You lose your ability to call yourself a protester when you choose to harm people and destroy property,” Davis added.
Officers were strategically placed across Baltimore, ready to jump into action.
WATCH: Baltimore Mayor, Police Commissioner On Porter Mistrial
Police have brought in extra officers from across the state to assist Baltimore if needed.
“I want to be very, very clear about any potential disturbances in our city–we are prepared to respond,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “We will protect our residents, we will protect our neighborhoods, our businesses, and we will protect the safety of our first responders.”
Months of research and training have gone into this plan of action.
“We, too, respect the criminal justice process in this country and we exist to protect. We pledged to this city, both our police department and our fire department. Our pledge to the folks in Baltimore is one of public safety,” said Comm. Davis. “We’re here to protect, we’re here to serve we take that responsibility very, very seriously.”
Our city is still working to rebuild since April’s unrest, not willing to take a step backwards.
“We will not and cannot be defined by the unrest of last spring. As a city, as a community, we are stronger and we are united to be better than what some displayed to the world in the spring,” the mayor said.
An emergency operations center is set up at police headquarters so businesses and the community can stay informed.