A Baltimore judge declared a hung jury Wednesday in the trial of a police officer charged in the case of Freddie Gray, a young black man whose April death prompted “Black Lives Matter” protests across the city and sometimes brutally violent riots.

William H. “Billy” Murphy, the lawyer for the Gray family, stressed the outcome was not a disappointment for either side in the racially charged case that brought the country’s eyes on Baltimore.

“This is just a temporary bump on the road to justice,” Murphy said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “It happens. It’s part of how the system works.”

Most hung juries are retried, with 70% of going on to eventually result in a conviction, Murphy said. He added that the family is appealing for calm in the wake of the announcement.

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks told USA TODAY he was “very disappointed” in the outcome, but added he feels all hope is not lost. The NAACP is based in Baltimore.

“If this were an aberrational incident, that might be one thing, but here we have someone who was arrested without probable cause … cuffed, without a seatbelt, having requested a medic — where in that set of facts is there lack of culpability or any evidence of compassion?” Brooks asked. He added, “Freddie Gray can’t get his life back, but there is an opportunity for a justice do over, so we’re encouraging people to pursue non-violent protest in the wake of a violent death and wait to see what happens.”

Patrisse Marie Cullors-Brignac, a cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Network and of #BlackLivesMatter, said her organization is “extremely disappointed in the same system that continues to allow for cops to kill black people without any sort of accountability.”

The network, which is part of the Black Lives Matter Movement, is extending condolences to the Gray family and believes it is time for society to begin redirecting public funds away from law enforcement agencies and toward jobs, education and health care in impoverished communities, Cullors-Brignac said.

“We cannot trust law enforcement to be the caregivers of our community,” she said. “I think our conversation … in this movement has to be redefining what public safety looks like.”

In the wake of tense emotions surrounding the outcome, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked for calm and promised to protect the city’s neighborhoods.


UP NEXT

03

A jury in the trial for the first officer involved in Freddie Gray’s death couldn’t come to a decision, so a judge ruled it a mistrial.
USA TODAY