Maryland lawmakers urged calm following the acquittal Monday of a Baltimore police officer involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a young, unarmed black man who later died in police custody.
A Maryland judge acquitted Officer Edward Nero, one of six officers charged in relation to Gray’s death last year that sparked violent protests in Baltimore.
Gray was one of several high-profile deaths that ignited a national debate about race and policing.
“Justice has always relied on trust in the judicial process, and that is what I call on all of Baltimore’s residents to do because there will be more trials in the death of Mr. Freddie Gray,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., whose district includes Baltimore. “We cannot control the outcome of any of these trials, but what we can control is our work to continue healing our community.”
Cummings gained notoriety during the riots last spring, when video captured him grabbing a bullhorn and encouraging protesters to clear the streets.
The Maryland delegation called on the Justice Department to open its own investigation into the Gray case, something Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., reminded residents Monday.
“We hope DOJ will recommend changes that will help Baltimore City evolve into a positive model for strong and effective community policing,” Cardin said in a statement.