Closing statements were heard Monday, leading the jury into deliberations to determine the fate of William Porter, one of six Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
According to The Baltimore Sun, statements from Porter’s defense attorney Joseph Murtha support the belief Porter acted under proper protocol to help Gray and did not neglect him as the prosecution portrayed.
Gray died in police custody in April.
Gray, handcuffed and shackled, was not strapped into his seat, a factor that led to his death from a severe spinal injury. Throughout the two-week trial, prosecutors accused Porter of knowingly ignoring Gray and not taking his pleas for medical help seriously. Porter took the stand and testified, claiming he did as much as he could in light of the circumstances.
Prosecutor Janice Bledsoe argued that strapping Gray in with a seatbelt could have saved his life. Bledsoe later argued the squad car turned into a “casket on wheels” once Porter failed to give Gray medical attention.
Porter has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
As the jury continues to deliberate, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake activated Baltimore City’s Emergency Operations Center Tuesday morning in preparation for protests. Baltimore police also canceled leave for officers and scheduled 12-hour shifts.
CNN reports Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis issued a warning to residents to respect the city no matter the verdict.
“Whatever the jury decides, we must all respect the process,” the mayor said last week. “If some choose to demonstrate to express their opinion, that is their right, and we respect that right, and we will fight to protect it. But all of us today agree that the unrest from last spring is not acceptable.”
Davis sent a letter to the police force on Monday, saying, “Regardless of the outcome of this trial or any future trial, we refuse to surrender to the low expectations of those who wish to see us fail. … We serve because we know so many good and decent Baltimoreans need us to stand in between them and crime, disorder, and chaos.”
The jury deliberated for three hours Monday before regrouping to continue Tuesday morning. Transcripts from Porter’s original interview with officers were requested, as well as the definitions of “evil motive,” “bad faith,” and “not honestly.”
Three Black men, four Black women, three White women, and two White men make up the jury for Porter’s trial.
SOURCE: The Baltimore Sun | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform