Baltimore officers accept disciplinary action in Gray case

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By Harvey Day For Mailonline

Published: 16:39 EDT, 10 October 2017 | Updated: 11:08 EDT, 11 October 2017

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Two Baltimore police officers have agreed to be disciplined for their roles in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in custody, an attorney for the officers said Tuesday.

Garrett Miller and Edward Nero 'do not believe they violated any policies, procedures or practices of the Baltimore Police Department' but they accepted the disciplinary action to move on and continue their careers, said Michael Davey, an attorney for the Baltimore police union.

Nero and Miller were among six officers charged in Gray's arrest and death in 2015. 

They are the only two officers who have so far been punished for their involvement, more than a year after the criminal cases collapsed.

The 25-year-old man died after his neck was broken in the back of a transport wagon while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained by a seat belt.

Two Baltimore police officers have agreed to be disciplined for their roles in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in custody, an attorney for the officers said Tuesday
Two Baltimore police officers have agreed to be disciplined for their roles in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in custody, an attorney for the officers said Tuesday

Two Baltimore police officers have agreed to be disciplined for their roles in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in custody, an attorney for the officers said Tuesday

Garrett Miller and Edward Nero 'do not believe they violated any policies, procedures or practices of the Baltimore Police Department' but they accepted the disciplinary action to move on and continue their careers, said Michael Davey, an attorney for the Baltimore police union

Davey wouldn't say how the officers would be disciplined and police spokesman T.J. Smith said he could not comment on it. 

Smith did say the two officers are on active duty and are currently assigned to the special operations section, which includes the aviation, marine, mountain, K-9, SWAT, traffic and special events units.

On April 12, 2015, Nero, Miller and Lt. Brian Rice chased and arrested Gray near the Gilmor Homes in Sandtown-Winchester, after Gray ran from the officers. 

Miller and Nero handcuffed Gray and put him into a police transport wagon. 

The van made a trip that lasted about 45 minutes and included several stops, in which officers periodically checked on Gray, who at least once indicated that he wanted to go to a hospital.

Gray was ultimately taken to the Western District station house, and then to a hospital where he remained unresponsive for a week until he died from injuries he suffered inside the van.

The death sparked a series of protests and violent riots. 

Nero and Miller faced the least serious charges of all six officers: assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Rice, the highest-ranking officer charge, Officer William Porter, who was present for five of the van's six stops, and Sgt. Alicia White, who checked on Gray toward the end of his journey, each faced an additional manslaughter charge. 

The wagon driver, Officer Caesar Goodson, was charged with murder.

Three officers were acquitted at trial, and cases against the others were dropped. Porter, whose first trial ended in a hung jury, is the only officer who did not face administrative charges.

Goodson, White and Rice are scheduled to undergo disciplinary hearings that will begin later this month. Those officers face a recommendation of termination. The department brought in an outside attorney to conduct the hearings.

The disciplinary trials will be among the first such proceedings made public since the Maryland General Assembly passed a law last year to do so.

Ray Kelly of the No Boundaries Coalition, an advocacy group in West Baltimore, said the fact that Nero and Miller settled the disciplinary cases behind closed doors goes against the spirit and promise of reform.

'We won't know what actually happened as far as the repercussions,' he said, 'and they're still on the force. There's no transparency and no way of knowing if they're being held accountable.'

Five of the officers, excluding Goodson, sued State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby last year, alleging that she filed false charges against them. A federal appeals court is now considering whether to allow portions of the lawsuit to proceed.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOLLOWING THE ARREST OF FREDDIE GRAY 

The events following the April 12, 2015, arrest of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was injured in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department and died a week later. Six officers involved in the arrest were charged. 

April 12: Freddie Gray is arrested after police make eye contact with him and another man, and the pair run. Officers put Gray in a transport van. He says several times that he needs medical care during the approximately 44-minute ride to a police district station. An ambulance takes him to a hospital in critical condition. 

April 19: Gray dies at a hospital.

April 21: The U.S. Department of Justice opens a civil rights investigation into Gray's death.

April 25: A peaceful march ends downtown, then some people smash police car windows and storefronts. Fans at a Baltimore Orioles-Boston Red Sox baseball game are told to stay inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards temporarily because of public safety concerns.

April 27: Gray's family, religious and political leaders attend his funeral. In the afternoon, rioting, looting and arson break out and continue through the night. More than 200 people are arrested. The Maryland National Guard is called up, the first time for a civil disturbance in the state since 1968. A nightly curfew is imposed.

April 29:  The Orioles play the Chicago White Sox in a stadium without fans after officials close the game to the public.

May 1: Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announces charges against the officers, saying 'no one is above the law.'

May 8: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces a civil rights investigation of the Baltimore police force as a whole, looking for patterns of excessive force and improper stops and searches.

Sept. 8: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announces a tentative $6.4 million settlement between Gray's parents and the city of Baltimore.

Dec. 16: A mistrial is declared in Officer William Porter's case after the jury can't reach a unanimous decision after three days of deliberations.

March 8: The Court of Appeals rules that Porter must testify against his colleagues while he awaits retrial.

May 23: Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero is acquitted of assault and other charges in connection to Gray's arrest. 

June 23: Prosecutors are dealt a devastating blow when the driver of the police van, Officer Caesar Goodson, is acquitted by a judge. Goodson had faced the most serious charges, including murder, and was portrayed as the officer most culpable by prosecutors.

July 18: The prosecution's case further unravels when Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in Gray's death, is acquitted by the judge. The judge says prosecutors failed to prove Rice deliberately breached his duty to put Gray in danger.

July 27: Prosecutors announce that they are dropping charges against the remaining officers awaiting trial - Officer Garrett Miller, Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter - saying it was likely they would ask for a trial by the same judge — not a jury — who had clearly demonstrated he did not agree with their theory.

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