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Prosecutors to Argue Baltimore Officer Committed Assault by Arresting Freddie Gray

May 10, 2016  | 

Officer Edward M. Nero of the Baltimore PD has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. (Photo: Booking Photo)
Officer Edward M. Nero of the Baltimore PD has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. (Photo: Booking Photo)

Prosecutors are expected to test a novel legal theory this week in the trial of a police officer charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray — that the officer didn't have the authority to detain him and therefore committed an assault by putting him in handcuffs.

The allegation could have widespread implications for policing in Baltimore and Maryland. Hundreds of detainees in the city are released every year after being arrested without being charged, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Officer Edward M. Nero's defense team argues that police shouldn't be second-guessed — and face criminal charges — when they carry out their duties in good faith, while prosecutors say officers should face consequences when their actions turn out to be wrong, and the consequences are so catastrophic.

By taking a chance with this kind of case, legal experts said, Baltimore's State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby must believe she is correctly interpreting the law and has the political will.

"Is it a gutsy theory? Yes. Do I think most prosecutors would have brought charges on this theory? Probably not," said Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor who is now a Georgetown University law professor. "But these are extraordinary times, and Baltimore is a city where a lot of the usual political dynamics don't apply."

Comments (14)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 5/10/2016 1:13 PM

I am confident that Officer Nero will be acquitted. It appears that the prosecutors are grasping at straws. Their case will fall apart in court, if the jury isn't biased(which is very likely).

Mike @ 5/10/2016 3:57 PM

Great. As if there isn't enough second guessing causing officers to be tepid in the fulfillment of their duties. Everybody wants to be a monday morning quaterback.

JoJo @ 5/10/2016 4:08 PM

So these great Baltimore attorneys have never heard of case law? How many times has an arrest been made and a higher court overturned a lower court decision. It must be nice to be perfect like these attorneys. What about charging attorneys who convict an innocent man? I bet they don't support that. How about prosecuting a defense attorney who gives their client a crock of a story to tell on the stand to get sympathy from the jury? These farces need to stop and the public needs to wake up to what is really happening. Freddy Gray shouldn't of died, but Mosby if a buffoon who is catering to the lawless.

HockeyCop @ 5/10/2016 4:10 PM

Using that prosecutor's logic, if Officer Nero is acquitted based on the Supreme Court's ruling prohibiting second guessing decisions police officers make in the heat of the moment, since Mosby has had literally MONTHS to make her decision to prosecute, wouldn't she be committing the same crime (since Officer Nero had to be arrested on this charge by her decision to prosecute)?

It would be wholly fitting to see power mad politicians who try to climb career ladders by attacking cops just doing their jobs end up in a cell themselves.

tedb @ 5/10/2016 4:13 PM

SO...let's see if I have this right...the PROSECUTER is saying the officer should not put hooks on the suspect, and the DEFENSE ATTORNEY is arguing that he should ? What a weird world we are living in!

Joe @ 5/10/2016 4:22 PM

amazing!!! When it is the prosecutors that fail to file charges! NOW i think prosecutors and judges should be held responsible. if a prosecutor loses a case he should be held personally responsible and be brought up on criminal charges. A person is convicted but later found innocent or a judge gets over ruled by a higher court he should be personally liable and face criminal charges. What is this world coming to. JUST STOP making arrests or writing tickets. patrol and answer calls and do nothing unless you have to. let criminals run, don't chase, in a car or on foot. Enough is Enough in Baltimore bunch of dumb asse*

Joe @ 5/10/2016 4:23 PM

sorry JoJo didn't see your post before i wrote mine. same with everyone else LOL

FredState @ 5/10/2016 4:57 PM

I don't need to arrest someone to put them in cuffs. Duh!

kevcopAz @ 5/10/2016 5:20 PM

People are "detained" all the time based on common practice and prior ruling. Mosby is really reaching for straws and if I were with her office I would stay as far from this trumped up prosecution as I could. To put someone in handcuffs alone is not even an arrest per se, it is detention for safety reasons. If this useless prosecutor gets this conviction then standby for zero future police work in that city. I agree that judges and prosecutors should be held to the same "professional" standards (arm chair quarterbacking) as police are. Then perhaps this crap would not happen. I think this officer will get $$$ in the end for this false arrest and malicious prosecution based upon politics and not the law. I hope to see Mosby disbarred, run out of office and then prosecuted if at all possible.

John retired IA PD @ 5/10/2016 10:20 PM

I just wonder what kind of decisions these prosecutors and judges would make if they had only a split second to make a decision instead of several days or weeks. Not to mention the review of case law and discussions with others before they make a decision. OF course they have to make sure the decision is politically correct.

Fed Cop 1 @ 5/11/2016 6:39 AM

So now in Baltimore, if the police put the habius grabus on a subject based upon "Probable Cause" it's the officer's fault prosecutors don't "charge" the subjects, or drop prosecution.

Nick @ 5/14/2016 7:41 AM

Mosby is the only who needs to be prosecuted. She is throwing out all standing case law for melcious prosecutions. Disgusting.

Deputy JJG @ 5/15/2016 7:51 AM

Holy shit Batman. That's all I can come up with.

ssc1911 @ 5/27/2016 2:48 AM

Prosecutor Mosby is using a theory based upon what pretense or circumstances, prior case law? Or is it something she interpreted wrongly in reading the law? This is absurd and she should be fire or removed from the case. The judge should question her theory here and what premise it is based upon. Mosby is trying this theory and the judge should question her motive for this and question her, if she doesn't convince the judge .Mosby should be disbarred as an attorney. Agreed Judges and prosecutors should be held to the same standards as cops.

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