source: Baltimore Sun
published: 23 May 2016
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams rejected the state’s case Monday against Officer Edward Nero, acquitting him on all counts for his role in the arrest of Freddie Gray.
The verdict, which followed a five-day bench trial, is the first in the closely watched case. Nero, 30, had faced misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. The 25-year-old Gray died last year of injuries sustained while riding in the back of a police transport van.
Prosecutors argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero’s role in putting Gray into the arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt.
In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, a theory legal experts said was unprecedented.