“No justice, no peace” for the black man who died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody.
Baltimore police officer Edward Nero Monday morning before a judge issued a verdict clearing him of all charges relating to the death and arrest of Freddie Gray. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Monday morning, Judge Barry Williams acquitted Baltimore police officer Edward Nero of all four misdemeanor charges relating to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, including second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of misconduct in office.
The original incident took place on April 12, 2015, when Nero failed to buckle Gray into his seatbelt while transporting him into police custody, where—prosecutors argued—he was unlawfully detained. (After an investigation last year, the Baltimore Sun characterized what happened to Gray that morning as a “mystery”). A week later, Gray was dead of a spinal cord injury, resulting in protests across Baltimore and eventually the nation as he became yet another symbol of police brutality’s dire effects and an icon of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
After the verdict this morning, more than a dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse, chanting “No justice, no peace,” according to the New York Times. Many community members are waiting for someone to be held responsible for Gray’s death, as is the NAACP, which released the following statement about the verdict:
“[W]e await justice for Freddie Gray. We respect the legal process and pray that the family of Freddie Gray will receive justice for his tragic death as we continue to call on systemic reforms in municipal and state police departments across the country… As we continue to watch the legal process unfold and as the trials of other officers commence, we urge the community to let their voices be heard in nonviolent protest as we seek justice for a violent death.”
In his verdict, Judge Williams laid out his decision, stating that “the state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence. There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”
Though this acquittal is the first verdict in a trial of any of the six officers involved to be resolved since Gray’s arrest more than a year ago, Nero was the second officer to be charged. The first, William Porter, was let go after a hung jury and subsequent mistrial.