Judge Barry Williams handed down a not guilty verdict in the bench trial for Officer Caesar Goodson, the third officer charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Thursday’s decision means Goodson avoided a conviction on the most serious charge handed down in the Gray case; second-degree depraved murder. Goodson, who drove the van Gray was transported in, was also cleared of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment charges.
Closing arguments were held on Monday after two weeks of testimony.
State prosecutors rested their case on the argument that Goodson was negligent, stating he failed to secure Gray with a seatbelt, was unresponsive to Gray’s requests for medical attention, and drove recklessly, ultimately causing Gray’s fatal spinal injury.
Prosecutors called fellow Officer William Porter
as a witness to corroborate that the police van drivers have full responsibility of occupants. Porter’s trial ended via a hung jury last December. He will be retried again in September and was forced by an appeals court to testify under limited immunity from prosecutors.
Defense attorneys say that Gray was combative, and called Officer Edward Nero as a witness to strengthen their argument that Gray made it difficult to secure his seatbelt. Nero was acquitted of all charges against him in May.
There are four more trials scheduled related to Freddie Gray’s arrest and subsequent death. Lt. Brian Rice’s trial will begin on July 5, which will be followed by Officer Garrett Miller’s trial on July 27, Officer Porter’s on September 6, and Sgt. Alicia White’s on October 13.
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter
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