Observers react with anger but not surprise to the not guilty verdicts for Officer Edward Nero in the #FreddieGray case
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Not guilty on all counts. That was the decision handed down in a Baltimore court Monday morning in the trial of officer Edward Nero, one of six officers charged with killing Freddie Gray. Nero was one of the three bike officers who took part in Gray’s initial arrest. [SPEAKER]: I don’t care what charge the officers were charged with. I think right now that he should’ve been convicted on something. I don’t care what it was, he should’ve been convicted on something because again Freddie Gray did not just die by accident. NOOR: Outside the Baltimore courthouse, protesters responded with anger but not surprise at the verdict. [SPEAKER]: Since the beginning of time people of power have been killing poor whites, poor blacks, poor Mexicans. You get a badge and a gun, you above the law. NOOR: So this is not surprising to you. [SPEAKER]: No I knew it was going to happen. They paid the Freddie Gray family off. We knew wasn’t no police going to be handed down to the criminal justice system. It’s not going to happen. NOOR: Freddie Gray was a 25-year-old Baltimore man who was arrest on April 12th, 2015 after running from police in West Baltimore. Gray died a week later, medical experts say, after suffering a fatal injury during his transportation in a police wagon. [SPEAKER]: So that the citizens of Baltimore have been let down. We’ve been let down when it comes to economic development, when it comes down to criminal justice. The system that’s supposed to work for us, it does not work for us, it works against us. So we are frustrated here today and letting our voice be heard that we want justice and peace, and this is not the justice in which we thought would come about. NOOR: Gray’s death sparked mass demonstrations that only tapered off after the officers were charged over his death. All attorney’s and Nero himself are bound by a gag order and can’t comment on the case. The Baltimore Police Department did release a statement saying Officer Nero will remain on paid leave and their internal investigation into his conduct is ongoing. The prosecutors have charged Nero with 4 misdemeanors. Assault and misconduct in office because they alleged Nero took part in an unlawful arrest of Freddie Gray and touched him without his consent. Nero was also charged with reckless engagement and another misconduct charge for not seat belting in Gray during a wagon stop where he was present. Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon observed the trial. J. WYNDAL GORDON: Expected that to be the verdict. Based upon how the court was breaking it down as to the evidence that he credited and discredited. There was no other verdict really available. The state’s attorney’s office just didn’t have the evidence to bring a conviction against Officer Nero, especially when they offered immunity to Mr. Miller. NOOR: Judge Barry Williams cited the testimony of fellow codefendant officer Garrett Miller who prosecutors compelled to testify with a promise of immunity. During his testimony Miller took full responsibility for making Gray’s arrest and said at the time, Nero was not physically present. Again J. Wyndal Gordon. GORDON: In this particular case if the state had won in their risk, then no one would question it at all. NOOR: But shouldn’t they know? GORDON: It was very risky and perhaps some would suggest that it was an unreasonable risk but they took it because in trials you have to take risks. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. In this particular case they lost. NOOR: What would the benefit be because he has immunity? GORDON: I think that someone in that camp should’ve been able to tell them that he has no interests in being as forthcoming as one might imagine simply because he raises his right hand and takes the oath. Many police officers raise their right hand and take an oath to tell the truth and they fail to do that. At this point he could say whatever he needed to say, not only to exonerate himself but to exonerate his comrade Officer Nero. So everything that he said in that trial cannot be used against him. NOOR: Stay tuned to the Real News for further analysis on the verdict with veteran attorney A. Dwight Pettit.
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