On Monday, May 23rd, 2016, Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was found not guilt on all charges in relation to the death of repeated drug dealer Freddie Gray, who was in custody of the police when he suffered a spinal injury that eventually led to his death one week later in a hospital. Edward Nero is one of six officers charged in relation to Freddie Gray’s death. The other officers are William Porter, Caesar Goodson, Garrett Miller, Alicia White and Brian Rice. William Porter was the first (and currently only other than Nero) officer who has had any court action, which ended in 2016 with the result of a hung jury. The jury was not able to come to a consensus on the charges against him which included involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct while in office, although all of the voters were very close, especially the most serious charge of manslaughter which had an 11-1 vote split.
William Porter’s case may have set the tone for Edward Nero’s case, as Mr. Nero opted for a bench trial, choosing to have his fate decided by a judge, rather than a jury trial which is what William Porter had, ending with a hung jury (which means the Baltimore State’s Attorney, Mrs. Marilyn Mosby, can theoretically put him on trial again.) It’s not quite clear if William Porter had the opportunity to select bench vs. jury trial, but if so, he may opt for that if brought back up on charges. The reason behind that is the judge in this case is a black man named Barry Williams. A lot of identity politics are at play here, as are politics in general. Barry Williams exonerating a white police officer involved with the case almost makes it impossible for him to convict a black man involved with the case. How could he if the evidence against the black man is the equivalent to, or lesser than, the evidence against the white man?
The only reason this case has gotten as far as it has is because of the rioting that happened after Freddie Gray’s April 12, 2015 death. The riots were out of control, the city was burning in spots, and the frantic Mayor had to do something in order to squelch them, at least for the moment, and that was charging the six officers. Maybe the theory was that this would stop the riots, and that since there wouldn’t be evidence against the officers, they would eventually go free. Which is a bad thing to do, because this is people’s lives we’re talking about. However, it does appear that the officers will, in fact, go free. Hopefully the can that was kicked down the road of riot suppression does not rear it’s ugly head again as we get closer to the warm summer months that always seem to be prime for violence.
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Officer in Freddie Gray case found not guilty on all counts
Freddie Gray case: Maryland high court says Officer Porter must testify against all five co-defendants
Trial of Baltimore Officer Goodson postponed by Maryland appeals court
Judge Declares Mistrial In Baltimore Police Case After Jury Deadlocks
Charges Against 6 Officers In Freddie Gray’s Death Range From Murder To Assault