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Courthouse scene: Protesters passionate, peaceful after Nero verdict

Pastor Wesley West stands outside the Mitchell Courthouse on Monday after Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Pastor Westley West stands outside the Mitchell Courthouse on Monday after Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

A handful of protesters voiced their anger and disappointment at the acquittal of Officer Edward Nero outside of Courthouse East in downtown Baltimore, but they were easily outnumbered by the reporters covering the verdict.

Some were quick to make their anger clear.

“This city is messed up, it’s corrupt. It’s messed up,” said a woman who identified herself only as Angel. “That verdict is not right. He should have gotten something. Somebody got to be responsible for that murder”

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Others said they were disappointed by what they see as a familiar pattern.

“We have jails around here where due process rights are being violated every day. No one’s listening, no one gives a you-know-what. They don’t care,” said Baltimore resident Antoine Williams after the verdict was announced. “It’s sad that this young man lost his life, and the people that’s responsible for it are just walking around, getting paid by the city of Baltimore.”

The Rev. Westley West, a local activist, alluded to other police-involved shootings in West Baltimore, including an incident on April 27 in which a 13-year-old was shot by the police after officers wrongly thought he was carrying a semiautomatic pistol but was holding a BB gun.

Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon speaks outside Courthouse East on Monday after Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon speaks outside Courthouse East on Monday after Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty on all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

“It’s happening, it’s happening every day,” said West.

The boy suffered non-life threatening injuries, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Though generally peaceful, the morning’s proceedings gave way to a few moments of tension as protesters – including West and Angel – and a throng of reporters swarmed around a man believed to be Nero as he left the courthouse and walked to a nearby parking garage.

Several sheriff’s deputies hurried down Calvert Street, blocking the crowd so the man could leave safely.

“No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!” protesters shouted as deputies blocked them from the garage’s elevators.

Outside the parking garage, West, frustrated, said to reporters, “It does not make sense that somebody has lost their life and nobody held accountable.”

Nero, meanwhile, left the courthouse peacefully and accompanied by deputies a few minutes later.