Freddie Gray: Accused cop to face 'bench trial' without jury

Edward Nero is the second officer to stand trial for charges related to the death of Mr Gray

Tim Walker
US Correspondent
Tuesday 10 May 2016 17:50
Comments
Police and protesters face off in Baltimore during unrest over the death in custody of Freddie Gray
Police and protesters face off in Baltimore during unrest over the death in custody of Freddie Gray

One of the Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died last year from injuries sustained in custody, has waived his right to a jury trial and will have his case heard by a judge alone.

Edward Nero is the second officer to stand trial for charges related to the death of Mr Gray, whose case was championed by Black Lives Matter campaigners and led to widespread unrest in the Maryland city. Judge Barry Williams granted his request for a so-called “bench trial”.

Mr Nero, 30, was one of three bicycle officers to arrest Mr Gray when he allegedly “fled unprovoked”. Mr Gray suffered a neck injury while being transported in a police van without a seatbelt. He died a week later, on 19 April 2015. Riots broke out on 27 April, the day of his funeral.

Police officers are known to request bench trials in the hope that judges will be more lenient than juries. Mr Nero and the other five officers facing charges related to Mr Gray’s death have tried to have their trials held elsewhere to escape the potential bias of a Baltimore court, given the overwhelming media coverage of the case and the city’s majority black population.

Mr Nero and the other two bicycle officers have all pleaded not guilty to the same misdemeanour charges of second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. They are not charged in Mr Gray’s death.

The other three officers face charges including involuntary manslaughter and, in the case of the van’s driver, Caesar Goodson, second-degree murder. The first trial in the case, of Officer William Porter, ended in December with a hung jury.

Mr Nero’s trial will begin on Thursday in Baltimore, and is expected to last at least six days.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in