BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Counting the seconds of contact between Baltimore Police officers and Freddie Gray. The arrest timeline is now playing into a disciplinary hearing that will determine if a lieutenant gets to keep his job.
The officers involved in Gray’s arrest have all been cleared criminally, but several were called before a police trial board Tuesday as witnesses in Lieutenant Brian Rice’s hearing at the University of Baltimore — Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, Zachary Novak and William Porter.
They testified that ranking officer Rice had only seconds of contact with Freddie Gray on the day of his arrest in April 2015, and that none of them knew about policy that would have required them to seat belt the prisoner into a police van.
One by one, a parade of Baltimore police officers called into a University of Baltimore hearing room to testify during the administrative trial of one of their own.
The 10 charges against Rice stem from policies that do require officers to seat belt prisoners, and from policies on use of force investigations.
The officers who testified said they rarely, if ever, seat belted prisoners before Gray’s death.
Rice was the ranking officer in his district back in April 2015, when Gray suffered what would prove to be deadly neck injuries in the back of a police van.
Attorneys also asked officers if they considered the police van to be a crime scene after finding Gray limp inside.
“There wasn’t any belief that a crime had occurred,” Officer Nero said.
He and others explained that they thought Gray may have swallowed drugs and overdosed, not yet aware that he’d broken his neck in custody.
Attorneys for the police department say the van should have been pulled off the road instead of staying in service until after Gray died days later.
New evidence presented in the hearing today includes a log of Lt. Rice’s emails, showing that he got 1,000 pages of email attachments in four days. Somewhere within those pages, a memo on the new seat belt policy.
Rice’s trial is expected to wrap up on Friday. If he’s found guilty on any of the charges he faces, he will be off the force.