Cop is seen choking protester in Baltimore after first Freddie Gray officer walks free

A Baltimore cop has been caught on camera grabbing the throat of a protester as tensions built in the hours after the first cop to face trial over Freddie Gray’s death walked free from court.

The officer is seen lunging at the demonstrator as he stood in the middle of a crowd on Wednesday night.

The footage, that initially aired on CBS, shows they did not interact before the attack.

As the man is pushed up against a wall and dragged to the floor, the cop’s colleagues crowd around and push the other protesters back.

The streets have been flooded with activists since the jury failed to deliver a verdict in the case of officer William Porter, 26, who is one of six cops charged with killing Gray, who broke his neck and died in custody in Baltimore in April.

Gray’s family urged people to remain calm, but protesters screamed in anger at the verdict outside the courthouse.

Some were seen being arrested on Wednesday night. According to the Baltimore Sun, two people had been taken into custody for their part in the demonstrations.

Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley said: ‘We ask the public to remain calm and patient.

‘We are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm, you should be calm too.’

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said: ‘I urge everyone to remember that collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods. In the case of any disturbance in the city we are prepared to respond.’

Large numbers of police have been stationed around Baltimore over the past few days.

Police stand guard as protesters march through the streets hours after the mistrial was declared 

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams declared a mistrial after a hung jury on all four counts on Wednesday afternoon. Lawyers will meet tomorrow to set a new court date.

The result came as a major blow for prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, who drew international attention by charging six officers within just weeks of Gray’s death – a speedy decision that analysts now wonder could have been too quick to build a case.

Speaking outside court, Shipley added: ‘We thank this hard-working jury for their service to the public, their quest for justice, their personal sacrifice of their time and effort. We are not at all upset with them, neither should the public be upset. They did the best that they could.

‘We are hopeful that [Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn] Mosby will retry Officer Porter as soon as possible, and that his next jury will reach a verdict.’

Mosby did not comment. Her office cited a ‘gag order that pertains to all cases related to Freddie Gray’.

The hung jury comes a day after jurors were ordered to continue deliberating, despite reaching a deadlock.

They had already spent nine hours discussing the case when they came back with the deadlock verdict on Tuesday.

It wasn’t clear if they were stuck on one or more of the four charges.

‘You’ve been diligent,’ Williams told the jury on Wednesday, ‘thank you for your diligence.’

Gray’s death sparked mass riots in Baltimore that caused the Maryland governor to declare a state of emergency, and prompted an intensified debate on police treatment of minorities in the U.S.

Porter was accused of ‘callous indifference’ to Gray’s survival for failing to call for medical assistance, and failing to seat belt Gray.

Emergency ops teams were on stand-by in Baltimore as the jury deliberated the case, braced for riots.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake opened an emergency operations center on Tuesday and pleaded for calm.

‘In the coming days, if some choose to demonstrate peacefully to express their opinion, that is their constitutional right. I urge everyone to remember that collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods, and for the residents and businesses of our city,’ she said in a statement.

She appeared alongside police commissioner Kevin Davis at 5pm Eastern Time, who appealed to protesters to remain peaceful.

‘We respect the right of Americans to protest,’ Davis said. ‘Protesters who are peacefully assembled have a friend in the police department. Our police department respects them and will do anything we can to afford them that right in the city.’

He added: ‘You lose your ability to call yourself a protester when you harm people and damage property.’

Baltimore City Public Schools Chief Executive Greg Thornton sent a note to parents, students and staff saying that safety was the schools’ paramount concern and that violence would not be tolerated.

Police canceled all leave in light of the imminent jury decision.

Porter is the first of six officers to face trial. He also faces charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

The charges against the other officers range from second-degree murder to misconduct. Three of the six officers, including Porter, are black.

Two officers, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, were indicted on second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office for ‘failure to perform a duty regarding the safety of a prisoner’ and for an illegal arrest.

The indictments do not include the false-imprisonment charge both officers initially faced.

Caesar Goodson, who drove the van, faces manslaughter and a second-degree ‘depraved heart’ murder charge, as well as misconduct in office and second-degree assault.

Sgt. Alicia White and Lt. Brian Rice – like Officer William Porter – are each charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. They also face reckless-endangerment charges.

Warren Brown, a Baltimore defense lawyer who was in the courtroom, said of the decision, ‘I am not surprised at all. I think you will have the same scenario with the other trials.’

He said he wanted to see if the jury broke down on racial lines. Seven of the jurors are black, and five are white.

The defense argued that Porter did not believe Gray was seriously injured until the van’s final stop. His lawyers have said that Porter acted as any reasonable officer would have.

‘In some ways, a hung jury might be better than an acquittal,’ Deray McKesson, a prominent U.S. civil rights activist, said on Twitter.

One legal expert said he was surprised to see a mistrial declared on just the third day of deliberations.

‘I thought the judge would never declare a mistrial absent a fistfight until the jury had been deliberating for six or seven days,’ said Jim Cohen, a professor at Fordham Law School in New York. ‘They chose the wrong defendant to try first.’

Source: The DailyMail

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