2nd Officer Involved in Freddie Gray’s Arrest and Death Aquitted

Officer+Edward+Nero+shakes+hands+with+a+member+of+the+Baltimore+Sheriff%27s+department+following+his+acquittal.

Courtesy of Tribune News Service.

Officer Edward Nero shakes hands with a member of the Baltimore Sheriff's department following his acquittal.

Tea Smith, Staff Repoter

People chanting “No justice, no peace. Jail to the police,” could be heard outside of a Baltimore courthouse on Monday (May 23th).

One of the six officers involved the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, whose death caused outrage in Baltimore, had just been found not guilty on all criminal charges. Officer Edward Nero is the second of the group to be tried.

Nero was charged with second-degree assault and two counts of misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment for shackling and putting Freddie Gray into police van without buckling his seatbelt.

Judge Barry Williams,  who has previously prosecuted police misconduct for the Department of Justice, acquitted Officer Nero of all the charges, which are misdemeanors (Nero was not charged directly in the death of Freddie Gray). Judge Williams determined that the state couldn’t prove that Officer Nero intended to commit any crimes during Gray’s arrest.

In Williams’ verdict, the judge stated, “The State’s theory from the beginning has been one of negligence, recklessness, and disregard for duty and orders by this defendant. There has been no information presented at this trial that the defendant intended for any crime to happen. Nor has there been any evidence presented that the defendant communicated any information to a primary actor that he was ready, willing, and able to lend support, if needed, to any crime.”

In a statement Marc Zayon, Edward Nero’s attorney, said that “Officer Nero is appreciative of the reasoned judgment that Judge Barry Williams applied in his ruling. Officer Nero remains a proud member of the Baltimore Police Department and looks forward to serving the City and the people of Baltimore.”

In a statement, the Baltimore Police Department said that Nero would still be on administrative duties for the duration of the investigation, until it’s completion; the investigation is being handled by other police departments like the Baltimore Sheriff. [Officer Nero is seen shaking hands with a Sheriff’s Lieutenant in the photo.]

The citizens of Baltimore and racial justice organizations are denouncing the judge’s decision as just another example of injustice and police impunity.

Prior to any of the criminal trials, the City of Baltimore has already paid a legal settlement to Gray’s family worth six million dollars.

The NAACP, in a statement, did not condemn the verdict, “As we continue to watch the legal process unfold and as the trials of other officers commence, we urge the community to let their voices be heard in nonviolent protest as we seek justice for a violent death.”