Judge sets hearing on prosecutors' latest request to compel officers' testimony in Freddie Gray case

Prosecutors want to compel another officer in the Freddie Gray case to testify; hearing is set for Wednesday.

Judge Barry Williams has set a Wednesday afternoon hearing on prosecutors' request to have a second officer compelled to testify at the next trial in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

Prosecutors earlier this month filed a motion seeking to order Officer Garrett E. Miller to testify at Officer Edward M. Nero's trial, which is scheduled to begin May 10 — the first case to go to trial since a December mistrial in another officer's case.

Both Miller and Nero were involved in Gray's initial arrest and have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct.

Miller and Nero were on bike patrol last April 12, 2015, in Gilmor Homes when they said Gray, 25, ran unprovoked. The officers chased and detained Gray, and arrested him after police said they found a switchblade knife clipped to his belt. An autopsy determined he later suffered fatal injuries while being transported to Central Booking.

Defense attorneys have not responded to the motion, and are prohibited from commenting on the case due to a gag order imposed by Williams.

The motion comes after months of legal wrangling over prosecutors' efforts to force Officer William G. Porter to testify under limited immunity against five fellow officers with his own charges still pending. Williams granted the prosecution's initial request to compel Porter to testify in one trial, but Porter appealed in a higher court.

Williams then blocked prosecutors' next request to call Porter at other trials, saying it was "simply an attempt at subterfuge" to stall those cases.

The state's highest court ruled March 8 that Porter had to testify in the cases.

Prosecutors had not previously said that they planned to call any of the other officers to testify in the cases, but defense attorneys had said forcing Porter to testify would open the door to such a scenario.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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