A “Not Guilty” Verdict in Charm City? Will Baltimore Burn?
Social media is blazing with the news that one of the Baltimore police officers, Edward M. Nero, charged in the death of Freddie Gray was found “Not Guilty” on all charges. Officer Nero had been charged with second-degree intentional assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
The verdict was handed down by Judge Barry Williams.
Judge Williams, who is Associate Judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, 8th Judicial Circuit, gave a long analysis from the bench, and said that Nero’s partner, Officer Garrett Miller, detained and arrested Gray himself. Judge Williams determined that Officer Nero did not act “corruptly” with an intent to commit a crime.
After Mr. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide back in May 2015, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, declared that she would put all six of the officers involved on trial.
So far, of the six officers charged, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett Miller, and Alicia D. White, only two of them, Porter, and Nero, have been to trial. Fortunately for the officers, but unfortunately for Marilyn Mosby, her office has been unable to convince a judge, or a jury, that the officers are guilty of intent to commit any crime.
Back in December 2015, Officer William G. Porter was the first to be tried by Ms. Mosby, with the intent supposedly being to use him as a witness against the other five officers, Caesar Goodson in particular. Goodson, the officer driving the police van that allegedly gave Gray a “rough ride”, faces the most serious — second-degree depraved-heart murder. This charge carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, if Ms. Mosby is able to make her case.
Although that trial ended in a mistrial, it was later determined that Officer Porter could still be compelled to testify against the other officers. When Officer Porter’s case ended in a mistrial, there was much fear and consternation that Baltimore would again fall into chaos, and see riots in the streets. Thankfully, for America in general, and the citizens of the Charm City in particular, cooler heads prevailed.
Honestly, my biggest concern is if Ms. Mosby’s office goes 0-for-3, the cooler heads might give way to the hotter heads, and the ne’er-do-wells of Charm City won’t wait to see if she can get to 1-4, let alone 3-3…they just might decide to take advantage of the situation, light a match, and watch their city burn.
I hope I’m wrong, really I do, but with summer fast approaching, a time when inner-city violence seems to always peak, why do I keep hearing that famous song “FIRE” by the Ohio Players in the back of my head?