Two trials and no convictions …
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero of the assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges in connection with Freddie Gray’s arrest last year outside a West Baltimore housing complex. This is what happens when a bias and overzealous prosecutor charges officers for political purposes.
After two trials and no convictions, Baltimore’s top prosecutor is facing criticism that she moved too quickly to file charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray without first ensuring there was enough evidence to bring them to bear.
Even the judge overseeing the cases — in his verdict Monday acquitting the latest officer to stand trial in the death of the African-American man — said the state failed to prove its case on any of the charges.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero of the assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges in connection with Gray’s arrest last year outside a West Baltimore housing complex.
Gray died on April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken while handcuffed, shackled, but left unrestrained by a seat belt in the back of a police van. The circumstances of his arrest and his subsequent death triggered protests demanding justice for Gray. On the day of his funeral, rioting and looting broke out. The National Guard responded, and a curfew was imposed.
Williams delivered his verdict in the racially charged case before a packed courtroom Monday. Nero’s parents and his brother sat in the front row; a few rows away, Gray’s stepfather. Noticeably absent, however, was State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who was present when Williams declared a mistrial in the trial for Officer William Porter in December.
After announcing charges against the officers last May — one day after receiving the police department’s investigation while a tense city was still under curfew — Mosby did not shy from the spotlight. She posed for magazine photos, sat for TV interviews and even appeared onstage at a Prince concert in Gray’s honor.
After the acquittal, Nero’s lawyers sought to send a strong message to her.
“Officer Edward Nero, his wife and family are elated that this nightmare is finally over,” wrote Marc Zayon and Allison Levine in a statement. “The state’s attorney for Baltimore city rushed to charge him, as well as the other five officers, completely disregarding the facts of the case and the applicable law. His hope is that the state’s attorney will reevaluate the remaining five officers’ cases and dismiss their charges.”