BALTIMORE, May 23 (UPI) — Maryland Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams on Monday ruled Baltimore police Officer Edward Nero is not guilty of all charges in his case related to the death of Freddie Gray.
Nero, 30, one of six Baltimore police officers to be prosecuted in Gray’s arrest and death, said he pursued the 25-year-old on April 12, 2015, based on assistance calls from other officers. Nero’s attorney argued his client acted reasonably and followed his training.
Nero, did not face manslaughter charges for Gray’s death, was accused of putting Gray in a dangerous situation. Nero pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and misconduct charges, both misdemeanors, related to Gray’s arrest, and reckless endangerment and misconduct based on the way Gray was loaded into a police van.
Gray sustained a fatal spinal injury while being driven in a van after his arrest. His death sparked weeks of peaceful demonstrations, riots and looting in Baltimore, and amplified the Black Lives Matter movement nationwide.
Prosecutors contend officers did not do enough to get Gray medical aid after he was injured while handcuffed but not buckled into a seat in the back of the van.
The prosecution argued Nero, who joined the force in 2012, did not use proper protocol and lacked legal justification to arrest Gray for failing to have probable cause.
Prosecutors said Nero was aware of proper seat belt protocols sent by email from department heads to officers on April 9, 2015, for arrestees, but disregarded them. Nero’s attorney said Nero was off work when the email was sent and that it was never mentioned in roll call.