Edward Nero was one of three police officers who chased Gray on bicycles on April 12, 2015, placing him unrestrained in a police van where the 25-year-old man ended up with spinal injuries, leading to his death a week later.
He was facing four misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. The 30-year-old police officer opted for a bench trial over a jury trial.
After a six-day trial, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams found him not guilty.
Prosecutors had argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero’s role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt. In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.
Nero leaned forward after the verdict was read, and wiped his eyes. He hugged his attorneys.
Nero was the second of the six cops who have gone on trial. The trial of the first cop, William Porter, ended in a hung jury in December.
The next cop to go on trial is Ceasar Goodson, Jr., who drove the van that day, accused of purposely driving recklessly to cause Gray to bounce around in the back. He will go on trial on June 6.
Lieutenant Brian Rice will go on trial on July 5. Garrett Miller will on trial on July 27. William Porter will go on trial again on September 6. And Sergeant Alicia White will go on trial on October 13.