The widely anticipated verdict in the trial of one of the police officers involved with Freddie Gray’s arrest has just been announced. The judge has found Officer Edward Nero not guilty of all charges.
Via USA Today:
A Maryland judge acquitted Baltimore police Officer Edward Nero of all charges Monday in the controversial death of Freddie Gray more than a year ago.
Gray’s death touched off sometimes violent protests in the city and reignited Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the nation. Nero was the second officer to face trial, although the first case ended in a hung jury.
Nero, 30, had declined a jury trial, and Judge Barry Williams heard testimony in a trial that wrapped up last week. Gray, 25, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody on April 12, 2015, and died a week later. Prosecutors say Gray, who was black, suffered the injury while traveling without a secured seatbelt in the back of the van.
Nero, 30, was charged with assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. He was among a group of bicycle officers who initially pursued and helped arrest Gray, although Nero claims he did not touch Gray except to help search for his inhaler.
Nero, who is white, was accused in connection with the initial arrest — prosecutors say there was no probable cause — and with later failing to properly secure Gray in a police van. Nero’s lawyers claim he had little to do with the arrest and it was the responsibility of the officers in the van to buckle Gray.
Nero was the second officer to stand trial in the case. The trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury, and Porter and the other officers face trials in coming months.
Four other officers have not yet been tried. The next trial, for Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the driver of the van that transported Gray from his arrest location to the police station, is set to begin June 6.
In September, the city agreed to pay Gray’s family $6.4 million to settle civil litigation in the case.
We all remember the riots sparked just over a year ago by Freddie Gray’s death that ripped the city of Baltimore apart. Many fear today’s not guilty verdicts will spark another round.
I pray for my city
The results from these Freddie Grey trials are about to have the city in a frenzy ??? everybody be safe
— Antmeezly (@Lnd_Antmoe) May 23, 2016
Pray for calm and peace.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]