Officer Miller takes the stand in Nero trial

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams heard from Garrett Miller, another officer accused in the death of Freddie Gray, in the case against Officer Edward Nero on Monday. 

Before questioning Miller on Monday, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow told him that no information he gave could be used against him in his own trial, set for late July.

Miller told Schatzow that although the officers were alerted over police radio to the fact that a suspect was fleeing police, they were not told the particulars of the case. Miller said that it was he who eventually apprehended Gray and put him in cuffs.

"Did he give up without a fight?" Schatzow asked. Miller said he did. When Schatzow asked if Gray was cooperating, Miller replied, "At the time, yes.”

Miller said that Nero did not assist with handcuffing Gray, and at one point, Nero left Miller alone with Gray when he went to retrieve a bicycle Miller abandoned during the chase.

He said that, after first putting Gray inside the police van in metal handcuffs, he later stopped the van to take off the cuffs, replacing them with Flexi Cuffs and adding leg irons. Gray was then put back into the van.

Schatzow also asked if Gray at any time bit, spat on, or head-butted the officers apprehending him. Miller said he did not.

"Did Gray assault you or the officers?" Schatzow asked. Miller said he did not, although he did say that by the second stop, Gray was "banging around" in the back of the van, making it visibly shake.

After breaking for lunch, Schatzow informed Williams that the state was resting its case.

Shortly after, defense attorney Marc Zayon, told Williams that he recommended that all charges against his client be dropped. Williams denied the motion, reminding Zayon that in deciding this case, he must look at it in the light most favorable to the state.

Throughout the first three days of trial, Zayon has made the case that his client was not the one in charge of Gray's arrest and subsequent transport. "Officer Nero did not call out the chase," Zayon said. "He did not handcuff Mr. Gray, he did not move Mr. Gray."

He has also argued that Nero was not aware of a change in police policy that mandated that officers seat belt suspects in police vans.

After the judge refused to drop the charges against Nero, the defense called retired Charlottesville police chief and former Baltimore City Chief of Tactical Services Timothy Longo.

Lawyers from both sides asked Longo about the role email plays in alerting officers to changes in policy and tried to pin down whose job it is to seat belt a suspect. An issue that keeps resurfacing in the trial is an email the Baltimore City Police Department sent out prior to Gray's death alerting officers to a change in policy, requiring officers to put suspects in seat belts. Zayon has argued that Nero never read the email, so he didn't know about the change in policy.

Zayon asked Longo if it is proper for police departments to alert officers about changes in policy via email. Longo said no, because there is no way of knowing if officers have reviewed the information or have a full understanding of it. He said that in Charlottesville, where he once served as police chief, police review changes in policy face to face.

Zayon also asked Longo if there is risk involved in seat belting people in police vans. Longo said that there could be if the person resists arrest or is not cooperative. He also pointed out that the transport vans used in Baltimore are very small, which could add to officer risk.

Zayon asked Longo if he had reviewed the case-related documents that he sent and Long said he did. He asked him if he believed that Nero’s behavior was appropriate given those facts.

"I believe his conduct was reasonable, based on the circumstances he was confronted with," Longo said.

Prosecutors called 14 witnesses, including Brandon Ross, who was with Gray the morning he was arrested, before resting their case.

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