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.

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

Freddie Gray trials: Prosecutors seek to force officer to testify

— Baltimore prosecutors want to force a second police officer, Garrett Miller, to testify against two other officers before his upcoming trial.

Miller and Officers Caesar Goodson, Edward Nero, William Porter, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White face upcoming trials in the death of Freddie Gray.

Gray died April 19, 2015, after being seriously injured while in police custody, sparking riots.

In court documents the state says, “It may be necessary to the public interest in the case” to call Miller to testify in the May 10 trial of Nero and July 5 trial of Rice.

Miller’s trial is not scheduled to start until July 27.

“Officer Garrett Miller is likely to refuse to testify … on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination,” prosecutors wrote, noting Miller’s Fifth Amendment rights.

They want the judge to order Miller to testify under the Maryland immunity law, which forces him to testify but prevents the state from using his testimony, or anything derived from it, in his trial.

He is the second of the officers the state hopes to force to testify.

On March 8 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled William Porter could be compelled to testify under the immunity law in all five of the other trials.

The trials are scheduled:

Edward Nero, May 10

Caesar Goodson, June 6

Brian Rice, July 5

Garrett Miller, July 27

William Porter, September 6

Alicia White, October 13

Freddie Gray case: Judge orders William Porter to testify in other trials

— Baltimore police Officer William Porter will have to testify in the cases of two other officers facing charges in the death of Freddie Gray, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Barry Williams ordered Porter to testify in the trials of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. and Sgt. Alicia White, under limited immunity granted by prosecutors.

Porter’s attorneys, who argue that forcing him to testify in the other cases would violate his rights, said they will file an appeal.

Porter was the first of six officers to go on trial in the closely watched case involving Gray, a 25-year-old detainee who suffered a fatal neck injury in April after being shackled and placed without a seat belt in a police van. Gray’s death set off citywide demonstrations and calls for justice.

After jurors deadlocked, a mistrial was declared in Porter’s trial last month. Porter is scheduled to face a retrial in June.

In compelling Porter to testify under this limited immunity, prosecutors can’t use the officer’s testimony in the Goodson and White cases, or anything learned from that testimony, against Porter when his own case is retried.

Porter’s legal team argued there was no way the state could guarantee that information from Porter’s testimony in other cases wouldn’t be used against him later.

Jury selection in the trial of Goodson, who drove the transport van carrying Gray, is set to start on Monday.

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.


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