Prosecutor: Officer Nero Failed to Follow Protocol

By Donna Owens

BALTIMORE (Reuters) – A white Baltimore police officer failed to follow procedures in the arrest that led to the death of Freddie Gray from a broken neck, a prosecutor said on Thursday at the start of the officer’s trial.

A lawyer for the officer, Edward Nero, said, however, that he had little to do with Gray’s arrest and transport in a police van. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in April 2015 from a spinal injury suffered in the vehicle.

Nero, 30, is the second officer to face trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court for Gray’s death.

The death sparked rioting and protests across the majority-black city of 620,000 people. The incident is one of those highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Prosecutor Michael Schatzow said in opening arguments that Nero, among three bicycle officers who chased and arrested Gray when he fled unprovoked, had no idea why Gray was being pursued.

That made his arrest illegal, Schatzow said. Court papers say officers found a spring-assisted knife in Gray’s pocket.