The Latest: Gray jury goes home for night without verdict

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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 6:48 PM
The Latest: Gray jury goes home for night without verdict

BALTIMORE (AP) — The latest on the trial of a Baltimore police officer who is charged with manslaughter in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was injured in the back of a police transport van (all times local).

6:30 p.m.

Jurors adjourned for the night without reaching a verdict in the trial of an officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

The jurors started their deliberations about 2:30 p.m. Monday and their discussions for the day concluded about three hours later.

The will resume deliberations Tuesday in the manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter.

Prosecutors say Porter abused his power by failing to save Gray's life after the man was injured in the back of a police van. Defense attorneys countered that "there is literally no evidence" that Porter caused Gray's death and the case is focused on conjecture and speculation, rather than facts and evidence.

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5:20 p.m.

The jury in the Freddie Gray case has sent its first questions to the judge, asking for transcripts of police dispatcher tapes and a police interview with Officer William Porter, who is on trial.

A court spokeswoman said the judge denied the request, since no transcripts were introduced as evidence, but jurors are welcome to review the audio and video.

Jurors also asked for definitions of terms from jury instructions. The terms are "evil motive," ''bad faith" and "not honestly." They relate to jury instructions for the misconduct in office charge Porter faces.

As for the definitions, the judge said he could not expand on his jury instructions.

The jury also indicated it wanted to adjourn at 5:30 p.m. Monday. It began deliberations about three hours earlier.

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4:45 p.m.

The Baltimore City Public Schools chief is warning students about the consequences of a violent response or other forms of protest ahead of any verdict in the trial of a police officer charged in Freddie Gray's death.

The letter dated Monday from school system CEO Gregory Thornton was sent home with students. A jury began deliberations Monday afternoon in the trial of William Porter, the first of six officers to go on trial in Gray's death.

Thornton writes that the school system supports students' right to express their emotions and will facilitate ways for them to do so. But he warns that "student walkouts, vandalism, civil disorder and any form of violence are not acceptable" and will result in consequences.

He also urged parents to prepare their children to act responsibly and safely.

The riot in April escalated after high school students were let out of school and converged on a mall, throwing rocks, bottles and bricks at officers. In October, more than a dozen activists, including several high school students, were arrested after an overnight sit-in at City Hall.

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2:55 p.m.

The jury in the trial of an officer charged in Freddie Gray's death has started its deliberations and the judge has told them they can deliberate as long as they want.

Jurors left the courtroom at about 2:30 p.m. Monday to begin their discussions after a two-week trial.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams told them they won't be asked to stop at 5:30 p.m., if all jurors want to keep working.

The jury began deliberating after hearing closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case against Officer William Porter.

He faces charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

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2:40 p.m.

A jury has started deliberations in the first trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

The case went to the jury Monday after closing arguments.

Officer William Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The maximum penalty he faces is about 25 years.

Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken during a ride in the back of a police van.

Prosecutors say Porter was criminally negligent for ignoring a policy requiring officers to strap prisoners in with a seat belt, and for not calling an ambulance immediately after Gray indicated he needed medical aid.

The defense says the prosecution's case was based on speculation, not evidence.

Five more officers are awaiting trial.

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2:20 p.m.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams read aloud instructions to a jury who will soon begin deliberating whether or not William Porter should be held criminally responsible for the death of Freddie Gray.

Before prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered their closing remarks, Williams gave the jury a series of instructions on how to evaluate the charges.

Porter faces charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Williams told jurors that in order to find Porter guilty of manslaughter they must determine that he acted in a "grossly negligent manner" and "created a high degree of risk to human life."

The judge says the assault charge also requires jurors to find that Porter was grossly negligent, while the misconduct charge requires an "evil motive, bad faith" and "not merely an error in judgment."

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1:50 p.m.

Baltimore Police have established a Joint Information Center to get information out quickly to community groups and others as the city awaits any verdict in the trial of William Porter, one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said that rather than relying on solely on social media, the information center brings invited stakeholders into the same room to answer questions, dispel rumors and disseminate information.

Smith said the center opened at noon Monday at an undisclosed location. About two dozen people were there as of Monday afternoon.

Hospitals, schools and community groups are among those invited. Smith said police can discuss information in person that doesn't convey easily over social media.

Smith said police established the center at the mayor's request.

Earlier, the city opened an emergency operations center to help coordinate any necessary response after a verdict.

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1:20 p.m.

An attorney representing William Porter, one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, told a jury in closing arguments that the case is based on conjecture and speculation, not evidence.

Joseph Murtha spent more than an hour delivering closing remarks Monday.

Murtha called Gray's death a "horrific tragedy" but said that "there is literally no evidence" that Porter's actions in any way caused it. Murtha said expert witnesses disagreed on the timeline of when Gray suffered the spinal injury that eventually killed him, and that constitutes "reasonable doubt."

Gray died April 19, a week after he broke his neck in the back of a police transport van. Prosecutors say Porter is partially responsible for failing to buckle Gray into a seat belt and didn't call a medic when he indicated he needed aid.

Porter says Gray wasn't injured when the officer helped the man from the floor of the van to the bench, and that the responsibility to buckle in a prisoner lies with the wagon driver.

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11 a.m.

A prosecutor says Officer William Porter only had to fasten Freddie Gray's seat belt and call a medic to save his life, and described the wagon Gray was injured in a "casket on wheels."

Prosecutor Janice Bledsoe made the statement Monday during closing arguments in Porter's trial. Porter faces manslaughter and other charges in the arrest and death of Gray. He could face about 25 years in prison if convicted on all of the charges.

Bledsoe told the jury there's no reason not to put a seat belt on someone in the police wagon. She says Porter "just didn't care enough."

She also says that even though other officers have said they don't use seat belts on prisoners, that's not an excuse.

Gray died in a hospital a week after he suffered a spinal injury in the wagon.

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9:30 a.m.

Baltimore's mayor says the city is opening an emergency operations center as the first trial of a police officer in Freddie Gray's death draws to a close.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says in a letter to community leaders that she has "no doubt" city officials are prepared for anything, but the center will open at 10 a.m. Monday as a precaution. She says it will help agencies coordinate any necessary response. Rawlings-Blake says the city also is communicating with outside law enforcement agency partners.

The mayor says business should continue as usual and people must respect the jury's decision in Officer William Porter's trial. He's one of six officers charged.

Gray's April 19 death was followed by peaceful demonstrations. But unrest broke out April 25 and again on April 27, bringing a curfew and the National Guard to the streets.

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9 a.m.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will deliver closing arguments in the trial of William Porter, one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Porter's trial is beginning its third week. He's charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Court was set to start at 9 a.m. Monday.

Gray died April 19, a week after he suffered a broken neck in the back of a police transport van. Prosecutors say Porter is partially responsible for not buckling Gray into a seat belt and for not calling for an ambulance when Gray indicated he needed aid. Defense attorneys say that Porter didn't know Gray was injured and that it was the wagon driver's responsibility to buckle prisoners into seat belts.

Gray's death sparked protest and rioting.