Jury Deliberations Begin in Trial of Officer William Porter

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mitchell_courthouse1After closing arguments on Monday, the jury began deliberating whether to convict Officer William Porter on charges he faces in the Freddie Gray case.

According to the AP, the jury began deliberations around 2:30 p.m. The proceedings brought two weeks of testimony to a close in the trial, which is the first of six for officers accused in the case. The jury is made up on seven women and five men. Porter is accused of involuntary manslaughter, among other crimes.

Reporting from inside the courtroom, the Washington Post reports prosecutor Janice Bledsoe called the police van where Gray died “a casket on wheels,” reiterating that Porter did not call a medic for Gray, or buckle him in the van with a seatbelt. “How long does it take to click a seat belt,” she asked rhetorically, the Post reports.

Porter’s attorney Joseph Murtha urged the jury to look at the “cold hard facts” of the case, and said prosecutors “preyed upon the fears” concerning the case’s outcome.

Outside the courtroom, the closing stages of the trial led Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center “out of an abundance of caution.” That means representatives of key city agencies “will begin working side-by-side, and coordinated to respond if needed,” she wrote in an e-mail to the community.


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