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Baltimore Bracing, Preparing For Reaction To Verdict

December 9th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

As the trial of Officer William Porter continued around the corner, city and community leaders held a press conference calling for "unity," no matter what the verdict is.

Porter is the first of six officers to stand trial in the death of Freddie Gray, who died as a result of injuries sustained while in police custody. The defense started presenting their case Wednesday. Porter faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The press conference is clearly aimed at stemming a repeat of late April's unrest that followed Gray's death.

"We need everyone to respect the jury's decision," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "Whatever the jury decides we must respect the process."

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said it was clear outside eyes will be on Baltimore when the verdict is in, saying Baltimore's is the most recognized police uniform in the country right now.

"We will not let outsiders define how we will lead," Davis said.

The April riots caused an estimated $9 million in damage, another grim number Rawlings-Blake would rather not see again.

"I still see in many of our communities a level of frustration," she said. "We will not tolerate the further destruction of our community."

Judge Barry Williams told the jury he expects the trial to conclude by Dec. 17.

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