BALTIMORE (AP) — Two Baltimore police officers 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.
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.
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.
Nero and Miller faced the least serious charges of all six officers: assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged; 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.
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