Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on Monday for his alleged role in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray a year ago.
Nero, 30, was facing misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault and two counts of misconduct in office for his part in Gray’s arrest. He was also charged with reckless endangerment for shackling Gray and placing him in a police van without buckling his seatbelt. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Judge Barry Williams, who has prosecuted police misconduct for the Department of Justice, determined that the state could not prove that Nero intended to commit any crimes against Gray.
“The State’s theory from the beginning has been one of negligence, recklessness, and disregard for duty and orders by this defendant,” Williams said in his verdict. “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.”
“Based on the evidence presented, this Court finds that the State has not met its burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, all required elements of the crimes charged,” he added.
Nero is the second of six officers to stand trial in connection to the death of Gray, a black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody on April 12, 2015. Gray died from his injuries a week later, on April 19, sparking citywide protests against police brutality. After his funeral on April 27, the unrest intensified — residents looted stores and set fires, and protesters threw rocks and other items at police lines.
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SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST
PHOTO OF FREDDIE GRAY: WAVENEWSPAPERS.COM
PHOTO OF ED NERO: BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT