Baltimore police officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on Monday on all four charges in connection with the death of Freddie Gray following his arrest last April, Reuters reported.
Nero was the first of the six officers who took Gray into custody to stand trial. Nero had been charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. During the case, prosecutors claimed that police intentionally failed to properly secure Gray in the back of a police van after his arrest, which led to severe spinal cord injuries.
In his decision, Judge Barry Williams said the state failed to meet burden of proof on all charges against Nero. Nero’s attorneys had argued that Nero was not the one who made the arrest of Gray last year and asserted that it was the police-van driver’s responsibility to properly secure Gray in the van.
Interestingly, Gray family attorney Billy Murphy agreed with the verdict that Nero was not a player in Gray’s death and said that Williams had been a fair and impartial judge throughout the process.
There are still five more officers that are awaiting trial for the death of Gray. The next officer to stand trial at the case will be Caesar Goodson Jr, who was the van driver and whooe trial is set to begin on June 6th.
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Monday urged everyone “to respect the process and judge’s decision” regardless of the verdict. In the wake of the verdict, Rawlings-Blake urged Baltimore residents to remain patient and to let the process continue until it reached its conclusion.