Video in Freddie Gray Trial Raises Questions

     BALTIMORE (CN) — The latest trial on the death of Freddie Gray kicked off Thursday with a risky evidence move by prosecutors, showing a video that recreates the tight quarters in which Gray sustained a critical spinal cord injury.
     Depicting a handcuffed and shackled police cadet, of a similar stature to Gray, in the back of van, the video also showed just how little space officers have in attempting to fasten a seatbelt if the detainee resists.
     After Gray’s arrest on April 12, 2015, he arrived at the Western District Police Station unresponsive and died in a hospital one week later, on April 19. His funeral later that month set off riots in the streets of Baltimore.
     Edward Nero, the second of six Baltimore police officers to face a trial on Gray’s death, waived his right to a jury, electing to face a bench trial.
     Prosecutors hope to show that Edward Nero participated in a wrongful arrest of Gray, and failed to obey general orders handed down by the police commissioner.
     Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said Nero was one of two officers who placed Gray into the van shackled but unrestrained on the floor, and said police general orders sent out to officers just days before Gray’s arrest mandated that detainees be seat-belted.
     The defense meanwhile must show that Nero acted reasonably in his pursuit and detention of Gray.
     Defense attorney Marc Zayon said Gray ran from police after making eye contact with officers near Gilmour Homes, an area in West Baltimore known for its high volume of violent and drug crimes.
     Zayon said officers are trained to quickly respond when an officer calls out a chase, and that case law supports chasing and detaining someone who is fleeing in a high-crime area.
     Schatzow told the judge meanwhile that officers failed to determine a probable cause for arrest, but “their plan was to … arrest him, and then decide whether to unarrest him.”
     Arguing that Nero had a limited role in Gray’s arrest, Zayon said the officer touched the detainee only after Gray asked for an inhaler.
     Nero has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault and misconduct related to the arrest, as well as reckless endangerment and a second count of misconduct stemming from how Gray was loaded into the van.
     His proceedings come on the heels of a mistrial in the manslaughter case against fellow Officer William Porter.

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