Charged Cop: Freddie Gray's Arrest Was Legit

Edward Nero says dead suspect was carrying illegal knife
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2015 6:45 AM CDT
This file photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department on May 1, 2015, shows Edward Nero.   (Baltimore Police Department via AP, File)

(Newser) – One of six officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray is taking issue with the charges against him. Specifically, Edward Nero argues that Gray's April 12 arrest was warranted because the "spring assisted, one hand operated knife" officers found on Gray is illegal, according to Maryland state law and a Baltimore city ordinance banning knives that open using an automatic spring. In a motion filed on Monday, Nero's lawyers call on prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to present the knife so a "careful inspection" can take place, the Guardian reports. However, Mosby—who contends the knife is legally "folded in"—says "evidence we have collected cannot ethically be disclosed, relayed, or released to the public before trial."

State law bans possession of "a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle," while the Baltimore ordinance bans "any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade," per USA Today. A lawyer not involved in the case tells WBAL that "there is no case" against Nero—who is charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and false imprisonment—if the knife is found to be illegal, because the arrest would have been justified. "We will litigate the issues of the legality of the arrest of Freddie Gray in the courtroom," a lawyer for Nero says. "I am quite confident Officer Nero will be acquitted." Click for more on the case.

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