(Reuters) - The mayor of Baltimore said on Wednesday that law enforcement authorities were prepared to respond to any violent protests in the wake of the mistrial of the first of six police officers charged in the death of a black man while in custody.
A jury had deliberated for 16 hours on whether the officer, William Porter, was guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Freddie Gray’s death from injuries he suffered while riding in a police van. After the jury reported it was unable to reach a verdict, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams issued his ruling.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made the statement at a press conference hours after the mistrial was declared. The city is hoping to avoid the arson and rioting that erupted after Gray’s death last April.
Reporting by Frank McGurty; Editing by Lisa Shumaker