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Closing arguments wrap in Ofc. Nero's trial

Posted at 12:47 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 17:31:37-04

After five days of testimony, both sides in the trial of Officer Edward Nero got their chance to say their last words Thursday.

Judge Barry Williams is expected to hand down a verdict on Monday at 10:30 a.m. It will be the first verdict made in the Freddie Gray case.

The state's case boils down to anywhere between a minute and a half and three minutes.

Police can chase and detain Freddie Gray and even use handcuffs, prosecutors say, but once stopped officers must question a suspect to determine criminal suspicion or let him go.

Prosecutors say that never happened and a legitimate stop became an illegal arrest, therefore assault.

Judge Barry Williams asked Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe if an arrest without probable cause is a crime versus a mistake.

Bledsoe answered yes saying, “People get jacked up in Baltimore City all the time.”

“That is a separate issue,” the judge replied.

Bledsoe fired back saying, “No, it's not.

It was a moment attorneys following this case say shows the state's political hand in charging this case.

"It was clear -- the attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole and I think to any listener the judge clearly had significant problems with the assault charge," said defense attorney Warren Brown.

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Others see this as an attempt to finally legislate a bad police practice of wrongful detainment.

"I think so,” Baltimore NAACP President Tessa Hill-Aston said, “It is unfortunate that it took Freddie Gray's death but this is something that has been brewing for a long time."

The defense countered in its closing saying there was no assault and Officer Nero acted objectively reasonable and that Gray was detained briefly and legally before his arrest and loaded into the van the best way Nero and others knew how in that circumstance.

“Right or wrong is not the standard,” Nero's attorney Marc Zayon said, it is whether or not he acted like a reasonable police officer.

The state insisted in its rebuttal that Nero did not act reasonable; he was aware of the risk to Freddie Gray and ignored it.

"That's a big stretch, it really is,” local attorney following the case Warren Alperstein said, “I think Judge Williams remained confused and that is why throughout the entire closing argument, you'll recall Judge Williams continued to pepper the state with questions, even at the end of the rebuttal close."

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