New motion filed in Freddie Gray case to compel Off. Miller to testify

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- State prosecutors are now pushing to require another officer charged in the Freddie Gray case to testify in two other trials.

One legal expert says this shows prosecutors are willing to take a risk to build stronger cases against two of the officers. Prosecutors are seeking to compel Officer Garrett Miller to testify against Officer Edward Nero and Lieutenant Brian Rice.

"The prosecution is trying to evaluate how best to present evidence against Officer Nero and Lt. Rice," says UMD Law professor Doug Colbert. He says it shows they've made a decision that Miller's testimony strengthens their cases and they need him as a witness to what Nero and Rice were doing.

"It's an estimation. Do we gain more by giving Officer Miller immunity so that we are more likely to gain convictions against two officers and we may lose a conviction against a third?" Colbert asks.

Miller and Nero made the initial arrest. Rice helped load Freddie Gray in the police van. All three officers are charged with misconduct, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault.

Both Nero and Rice's trials would happen before Miller's case is scheduled this summer.

The order says the testimony "may be necessary to the public interest in the case."

"Because it has a witness to what the prosecution believes was a crime committed against Freddie Gray," Colbert explains, "we get to learn how he was apprehended and what, if anything, took place."

"When you're prosecuting a case, you want to be able to tell a complete story. There was a gap in the story at the moment when officers pursued Freddie Gray and then apprehended and arrested him."

Colbert doesn't think the trials will see the same delays that resulted from the motion and subsequent appeals to compel Officer William Porter's testimony.

"We will not see the same episode repeat itself again because the Court of Appeals has made clear the prosecution may compel an officer to testify," he says.

Colbert expects the defense to respond in writing to this motion, then have a court date set for arguments. The first trial for Officer Edward Nero is set for the beginning of May.

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