The Plaintiffs in the civil case of Nero v. Mosby have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to request that their case move forward. Nero is Edward M. Nero, one of the officers–three of whom were black–charged by Marilyn Mosby after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. The U.S. 4th Circuit, in May 2018, reversed the district court’s decision and granted a motion to dismiss, in an action by plaintiffs, five of the six officers who had been charged and subsequently either acquitted or had charges dropped, in the Freddie Gray homicide case. The officers have alleged civil claims of malicious prosecution, defamation, and false light against state attorney, Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore Prosecutor at the time.
The officers alleged that Mosby’s role, in not taking into considerate exculpatory evidence–witness reports that Freddie Gray was banging his head inside the Police Van– in independently investigating their conduct stripped her of absolute prosecutorial immunity and that their allegations of malice or gross negligence overcame Maryland’s statutory immunity protections.
Freddie Gray, 25, died in 2015, a week after he suffered a spinal injury in a Police Van. His death sparked looting and rioting in Baltimore. Mosby had charged six officers in Gray’s arrest and death. Three were ultimately acquitted, and Mosby dropped the remaining cases.
Officer William G. Porter, a black officer, who met up with the van after Officer Goodson called dispatchers to ask for an officer to come check on Gray, allegedly was requested twice by Gray for a medic, but did not call for one. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; misconduct in office. The grand jury indicted Porter on all charges and added an indictment of reckless endangerment. On December 16, 2015, a mistrial was declared on all charges, after the jury was hung and could not come to a decision. Porter’s second trial was scheduled for June 13, 2016. Officer Porter’s retrial date was originally scheduled for September 6, 2016, but on July 27, 2016, all charges against him were dropped by Mosby.
Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., also black officer, the driver of the van, was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder; involuntary manslaughter; second-degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence); and misconduct in office. The grand jury indicted Goodson on all charges and added an indictment of reckless endangerment. Officer Goodson was found not guilty on all charges by Circuit Judge Barry Williams on June 23, 2016.
Officers Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, the officers who caught Gray after he fled, and, after apprehending him, handcuffed Gray with his arms behind his back. Miller was charged with two counts of second degree assault; two counts of misconduct in office; and false imprisonment. Nero, the lead plaintiff in the current civil suit, was charged with two counts of second degree assault; misconduct in office and false imprisonment. The false imprisonment charges were dropped by the grand jury, but an indictment of reckless endangerment was added. Judge Williams found Officer Nero not guilty of all charges on May 23, 2016. Officer Miller’s trial date was set for July 27, 2016; however, on July 27, 2016, all charges against Miller and officers Porter and White were dropped.
Lt. Brian W. Rice, the officer who initially made eye contact with Gray while on a bicycle patrol, was charged with involuntary manslaughter; two counts of second degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; and false imprisonment. The false imprisonment charges were dropped by the grand jury, which added an indictment of reckless endangerment. Judge Williams dropped one of the assault charges after the prosecution rested, ruling there was not enough evidence to prove second-degree assault. Lt. Rice’s trial began July 7, 2016, and he was found not guilty on all counts by Judge Barry Williams on July 18, 2016.
Sgt. Alicial D. White, a black female officer, was accused of not calling for medical assistance when she encountered Gray, despite the fact she was allegedly advised that Gray needed a medic. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; and misconduct. The grand jury indicted White on all charges and added an indictment of reckless endangerment. Sgt. White’s trial date was originally set for October 13, 2016, but on July 27, 2016, along with Officer Miller, all charges against her were dropped.
The U.S. Justice Department declined to bring federal civil rights charges against the six officers, so that there was no criminal responsibility Gray’s death. The van driver and the highest-ranking officer in Gray’s arrest also were cleared of any administrative wrongdoing by a police panel. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis subsequently decided to scrap a final trial board against another police supervisor.
The city has agreed to pay a $6.4 million settlement to Gray’s family.
The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by a lower court judge, court records show. That judge had allowed key parts of the lawsuit against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to go forward.
The lawsuits, filed in state and federal court then eventually consolidated in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, alleged Mosby violated the officers’ constitutional rights by arresting them without probable cause and presenting false or misleading information in the process. They also claimed she defamed them in statements made at a May 2015 press conference announcing the charges, which Mosby dropped a year later after several officers were acquitted.
Nero v. Mosby. Motion to dismiss appealed from Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Marvin J. Garbis, Senior District Judge. (1:16-cv-01288-MJG; 1:16-cv-01304-MJG; 1:16-cv-02663-MJG)