- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2016

A Baltimore judge on Monday acquitted a city police officer of all charges in connection with the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after breaking his neck in the back of police van last year.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams found Officer Edward Nero not guilty of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Officer Nero had opted to be tried by a judge rather than a jury.

The verdict is the first for the six police officers charged in connection with Gray’s arrest and death, which sparked protest and riots in April 2015 and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many court watchers had anticipated a not guilty verdict after the prosecution was dealt a blow last week when fellow Officer Garrett Miller testified that Officer Nero did not arrest or touch Gray during his apprehension.

Officer Miller, who also faces charges in Gray’s death, was compelled by the court to testify against his fellow officer.

An earlier trial for an officer charged with manslaughter in the case ended in a hung jury in December.

Last Monday, prosecutors were dealt a blow when Officer Miller testified that Officer Nero did not arrest or touch Gray during his apprehension.

Asked by Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow whether he and Officer Nero apprehended Gray, Officer Miller said that he arrested the young man by himself.

His testimony contradicted a statement he gave to investigators at the time of Gray’s death in which he used the pronoun “we” in reference to the arrest. Officer Miller said last Monday that portion of his statement was a mistake.

 

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