Mistrial in Baltimore:
The Whole System Is Guilty in the Murder of Freddie Gray

December 21, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On December 16, a Baltimore judge declared a mistrial due to a hung jury in the case of William Porter, the first cop brought to trial for the murder of Freddie Gray. Whether Porter will be tried again is not yet known. But this trial and its outcome will impact the trials of the other five cops who took part in murdering Freddie Gray. And this trial did NOT deliver any justice.

freddie gray
Freddie Gray

On April 12, 2015, cops chased, brutalized, and arrested Freddie Gray without any justification. Even according to the police story, Freddie was doing nothing wrong. The cops came at Freddie after he made “eye contact” with them. Eye contact! Just like in slave and old Jim Crow days, when simply looking a symbol of white supremacist authority in the eye could get you killed. Which is exactly what happened to Freddie Gray.

From the beginning, the cops treated Freddie like a runaway slave, worse than a dog. They beat him till he couldn’t stand. In Porter’s trial, the prosecution and the defense both said Freddie Gray was fine when he was put in the van. Videos have exposed this as a lie—but these were not introduced in the trial. Nor were any of the eyewitnesses who saw the beating called to testify. Like the person who said, “They were taking out their black batons, whatever they are, and hitting him.” Or the person who recalled, “They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami. He was all bent up.”

The cops threw Freddie in the back of a police van and drove around for 45 minutes, giving him what pigs in Baltimore call a “rough ride,” making fast starts and stops—a form of summary punishment that’s been documented to have killed people in police custody. By the time he was taken out of the van he was unconscious. His spine had been severed 80 percent. A week later he died.

Arrest of Freddie Gray

The cops who killed Freddie Gray would not have even been indicted if the people had not risen up in rebellion, refusing to accept this murder. People in the streets demanded: Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail! The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!

Then, at the very beginning of the trial, defense attorney Gary Proctor told jurors: “Let’s show Baltimore the whole damn system is not guilty as hell.” But in fact what this trial showed is that: The whole system IS guilty in the murder of Freddie Gray. And the INjustice system is PART of and serves this whole damn system!

Porter didn’t put a seatbelt on Freddie Gray, who had his hands handcuffed and his feet shackled as he was thrown around the van during the “rough ride.” And Porter didn’t call for a medic, even after it was clear Freddie Gray was seriously injured and Gray asked for help. Two medical experts testified that Gray’s life could have been saved if Porter had called for a medic after Gray’s plea.

Defense lawyers said Porter thought Freddie Gray was faking injury to avoid going to jail and saw no reason to request a medic. They argued that Porter was just doing what all the other cops do in not putting a seatbelt on Gray. The defense had Porter’s mother testify about how he is a “nice guy,” and his first grade teacher told the jury that he was “truthful and honest.” Meanwhile, there was nothing in this trial to bring out the humanity of Freddie Gray, the victim killed by the cops. No witnesses were called to testify about how Freddie Gray was widely known and liked in his West Baltimore neighborhood as a generous person and a jokester.

Pig “Reasonableness”

Baltimore after the mistrial was announced.
In the streets of Baltimore after the mistrial was announced in the case of the first cop who was tried for the murder of Freddie Gray, December 16. Photo: www.revcom.us

Porter’s actions clearly contributed to the death of Freddie Gray. But the way the law is written and the legal system works made it extremely difficult for a jury to find Porter guilty—if they followed the letter of the law and the judge’s instructions.

The judge told the jury that to find Porter guilty of misconduct in office would require that they find he “corruptly failed to do an act required by his duties” and that it was “not a mere error in judgment” but involved an “evil motive and bad faith.” (!)

Jurors were also instructed that in order to find Porter guilty of involuntary manslaughter, they had to find that he acted with a “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” and that his conduct was a “gross departure” from what a “reasonable police officer” in a similar situation would do.

So the standard used by the prosecution, defense, the judge and, beyond that, the court rulings and laws—and the whole structure they enforce—is that a pig can plead NOT GUILTY by simply saying that “other pigs do it, too”! If Porter didn’t put a seatbelt on Freddie Gray and didn’t call a medic and this contributed to Gray’s death—which is what happened—he can’t be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter because THIS IS WHAT OTHER PIGS DO ALL THE TIME.

This legal concept of “reasonableness,” established in the 1989 Supreme Court ruling, Graham v. Connor, requires judges and juries to determine whether a cop’s decision to use lethal force is a crime or not by imagining (!) what an objectively “reasonable” officer would have done in his place. In other words: murdering pigs can’t be found guilty of murder because pigs murder all the time.

Kriminal Kop Konspiracy

What if it was a situation in which a group of Black youths were driving around in a car and one of them was accused of committing a murder? This would be treated like a criminal conspiracy, where even someone who may have just been sitting in the car and not doing anything could be charged with murder. Black youths have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder based on Facebook postings!

Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off

"Yes there's a conspiracy... to get the cops off" is a clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States. Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This talk, followed by questions and answers, is a wide-ranging revolutionary journey, covering many topics. It breaks down the very nature of the society we live in and how humanity has come to a time where a radically different society is possible. It is full of heart and soul, humor and seriousness; it will challenge you and set your heart and mind to flight. Watch the entire film online at http://revolutiontalk.net.

In fact, the murder of Freddie Gray involves a Kriminal Kop Konspiracy. This murder is part of a criminal conspiracy to carry out genocide against Black and Latino people. It is part of a program of criminalizing whole sections of people for whom this system has no future but unemployment, police murder, and mass incarceration. As Carl Dix has said, what is taking place here is a slow genocide that could easily become a fast genocide. And this genocidal conspiracy involves the cops, the courts, the mainstream media, politicians, and goes all the way to the very top levels of government.

Murderous Logic

Then there was the murderous logic involved in the arguments over when—at what stop—Freddie Gray sustained his life threatening injuries. The defense said Gray asked to be taken to the hospital during the fourth stop. The defense said Porter wasn’t guilty because Gray’s “catastrophic injuries” occurred later, between the fifth and final stops of the van.

Freddie Gray was standing on the street doing NOTHING WRONG when the cops set on him, beat him up, threw him in a van, took him on a “rough ride,” and refused him medical care. The question is not “at what second did Freddie Gray get an injury that killed him.” A whole gang of cops acted together in a series of criminal acts to kill Freddie Gray, then the whole system kicked in to try and cover up and let these cops get away with this. Every single cop involved in all the events that led to Freddie Gray’s death—and anyone involved in protecting these murdering cops—should be found guilty and punished for the murder of Freddie Gray.


The outrageous framework and standards used by the prosecution, the defense, and the judge in the trial of William Porter shows the complete illegitimacy of the INjustice system.

As Carl Dix says, “Killer cops belong in cell blocks, and we can’t rely on the system to get them put there. It’ll take mass determined resistance to the ways police get away with murder to get justice for Freddie Gray, and all the victims of murder by police. Get with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and become part of that resistance. And get with the movement for revolution that the RCP is building if you want to end the horrors this system inflicts on humanity.”




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