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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/17/15

Mistrial declared in Baltimore

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Defense Rests its Case in Trial of First Officer Charged With Killing Freddie Gray University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert gives his analysis of the defense case, closing arguments could begin Monday.
Defense Rests its Case in Trial of First Officer Charged With Killing Freddie Gray University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert gives his analysis of the defense case, closing arguments could begin Monday.
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Photos of Freddie Gray and Baltimore police Officer William Porter

Surprise, surprise there was a mistrial declared yesterday for one of the police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

Protests occurred almost immediately after the mistrial verdict was announced by Judge Barry Williams.

Two arrests were made "on charges of failing to obey a lawful order and disorderly conduct for using a bullhorn outside the courthouse."[1]

As one protester put it, "We want justice and we're just not going to get it. I'm expecting all this to just go south. This sets the stage for all the other trials."[2] Five other officers are about to face trial in what many describe as the murder of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

Gray's untimely death occurred last spring in Baltimore and became another one of those highly profiled deaths of African Americans at the hands of police that has caused widespread, nationwide attention. Particularly after so many police have been exonerated by prosecutors, grand juries and now this officer getting a free pass with this mistrial verdict.

The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings Blake in her comments after the verdict put it, "This is our American system of justice".

Yes it was, 12 people selected from the Baltimore community deliberated for 3 days and couldn't agree on a conviction or a not guilty verdict.

And since it was a mistrial, Officer William Porter could face a retrial. We'll see.

The racial make-up of the jury that deliberated this case was never made known. Apparently, there wasn't a member of the panel that was able to gather the facts sufficiently to get the others to come to a simple guilty or not guilty verdict. Obviously there were some who believed the evidence was clear, the officer was guilty while others weren't persuaded.

But one thing seems clear with this mistrial verdict of a black man dying while in police custody; the perception remains racial injustice is alive and well in this country.

Yes, "perception". Because even if Officer Porter was found guilty what of the other high profiled murders of black and brown people committed by police all over America, now caught on cameras, who have been exonerated by authorities?

And when those who are supposed to "protect and serve" commit crimes, now caught on camera and not held accountable for their actions, then clearly racial injustice reigns in America. That's the unmistakable "perception" held by many.

And that "perception" not going away any time soon.

Just a little postscript, the city of Baltimore has agreed to pay $6.4 million to Gray's family to settle civil claims while not acknowledging any wrongdoing by its officers.

Oh yeah, "justice" served. Just typical American capitalism's blood money payoff exonerating official wrongdoers for the crimes they commit.

[1] "Protesters gather around Baltimore after Officer Porter mistrial declared", by Yvonne Werger, Meredith Cohn and Carrie wells, "The Baltimore Sun", December 16, 2015

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