Following Deadlock, Baltimore Jury Resumes Deliberations

Jury notes in the Baltimore trial of a police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray are causing a lot of courtroom commotion.

The panel's request Wednesday for a transcript of witness testimony was at least the ninth note from jurors to Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams since deliberations began Monday. Williams denied the request.

On Tuesday, the jury told the judge they were deadlocked, but he told them to keep working.

He also has refused to give jurors transcripts of audio recordings, saying they are not evidence in the case. He has provided jurors paper, highlighters and an easel.

People in the courtroom first learn of such jury requests when a buzzer sounds. Then it takes 10 to 20 minutes for lawyers and the defendant to assemble in the courtroom. The judge calls them to the bench for a quiet discussion and then reads the note aloud and announces his decision.

Wednesday marks the third day of deliberations in the case of William Porter. He's one of six officers charged in Gray's death.

The jury sent a note to the judge requesting a transcript of witness testimony. Judge Barry Williams denied the request, telling the jury they must rely on their own notes and recollections. 

The judge also warned again about the use of electronic devices in the courthouse after a tweet with a picture from inside the media work room went out Wednesday. Williams threatened to ban electronic devices from the courthouse in the event of another violation of the restrictions. No pictures are allowed inside the courthouse.

Tuesday afternoon, jurors sent the judge a note saying they were deadlocked. He told them to keep working.

Deliberations resumed just after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, and the jury has not had any questions for the judge since.

Judge Williams originally told the jurors he expected the trial to last until Dec. 17 which is Thursday, and that deadline may add urgency in the minds of jurors, News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Prosecutors say Porter is partly responsible for failing to buckle Gray into a seatbelt and for not calling an ambulance when Gray indicated he was in distress. Porter told jurors that he didn't think Gray was injured and that it was the van driver's responsibility to fasten Gray's seat belt.

Demonstrations were initially peaceful following the 25-year-old's death in April, but in the hours following his funeral, rioters threw bottles and bricks at police, injuring almost 100 officers. More than 200 people were arrested as cars, and businesses burned.

Baltimore police are staging at various locations, including a park one block from where the riots occurred. They are ready for demonstrations no matter what the outcome of the trial. Maryland State Police and the state national guard are watching the situation closely.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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