Freddie Gray case: Judge will decide officer’s fate, not jury
In the next trial of a Baltimore police officer in the Freddie Gray case, it won’t matter what the jury thinks; there won’t be one.
Baltimore police Officer Edward Nero, accused of assaulting Gray, elected Tuesday to have a bench trial, meaning a judge will make the final decision on the verdicts.
Nero, one of the bicycle patrol officers involved in the April 2015 arrest of Gray, is charged with second-degree intentional assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
His trial will begin Thursday.
Nero was one of six officers charged in connection with the death of Gray, a 25-year-old who died after sustaining a neck injury while in police custody.
The death of Gray, who was black, ignited a wave of protests as debate surged nationwide over whether police use excessive force, particularly against African-Americans.
Riots erupted in Baltimore last year after Gray’s funeral.
Originally Nero was supposed to be the fifth officer tried, but after a series of appeals and schedule changes he is now the second.
In December, a judge declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked in the case of William Porter, the first officer on trial in connection with the arrest and death of Gray. He’s scheduled to face a new trial this year.