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Rice Trial: State rests, assault dismissed

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams dismissed Monday the charge of second degree assault against Lt. Brian Rice.  He did so after the state rested its case.

Williams said while prosecutors have shown that Rice did not put Freddie Gray in a seatbelt, he was “not satisfied” that the state had shown evidence that Rice committed assault.

Rice, one of six officers charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray, remains on trial for involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Earlier, prosecutors called two of Rice’s fellow officers to the stand; Edward Nero and William Porter.

Nero, who was acquitted in May of assault and other charges in the case, said Rice ordered Gray’s legs be shackled and the transport van take Gray to Central Booking.

Gray died as a result of a severe spinal injury he suffered during that van ride.

Nero, who was subpoenaed as a state witness, said they had to move the van from the 1700 block of Presbury Street, where Gray was arrested, because a crowd gathered and things were getting “hostile.”

He also described the back of the van where Gray was confined as small.

“It’s hard to get one person in there, let alone two,” he said.

After prosecutors asked Nero about his defamation lawsuit against prosecutors and a joint defense agreement he entered with other defendants, Judge Williams ruled that Nero was hostile to the prosecution, allowing them to ask him leading questions.

Officer William Porter, whose trial ended in a hung jury last December and is testifying under a grant of limited immunity, repeated much of what he said in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson; that Gray did not look injured and that he suggested taking Gray to the hospital.

Also like last time, Porter was curt towards prosecutors and more courteous towards the defense.

Porter is to face a new trial in September

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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