In the trial of William G. Porter, the first of six Baltimore police officers on trial for the death of Freddie Gray, eight of the 12 jurors are black, Mic reports.
Gray, 25, died in police custody in April after his spinal cord was partially severed, and his death has become a rallying cry in the growing movement against police brutality. Porter faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Gray’s death and Porter’s trial highlight the importance of jury selection in America’s judicial system. Researchers have found that interracial juries commit fewer factual errors, deliberate for longer periods of time and consider a wide swath of perspectives, according to the New York Times. While Porter’s trial is a unique example in which African-Americans make up the majority of the selected jury, racial discrimination in jury trials is still a big problem.
Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a research analyst at The Sentencing Project, says there are many unique qualities to what’s happening in Baltimore. “What’s surprising in this case is the defensive efforts to move the case outside of the city, which would likely have fewer African-Americans in the jury pool and more white jurors,” Ghandnoosh told Mic. “That dynamic reverses what you usually see in jury cases.”
Read the full article on Mic.