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The Baltimore, Maryland Police Officer who drove the police van with Freddie Gray, who had a broken neck, in the back was acquitted of driving recklessly and ultimately killing Gray. “The Baltimore Sun” reported that Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams announced his ruling, on Thursday, June 23, 2016. The judge stated that officer Ceasar Goodson Jr. was not guilty of any charges levied against him.
Of the six officers being charged with Gray’s murder, Goodson, 46, was accused of the most serious crimes in the case. Goodson was facing charges of second-degree murder, three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct. Gray died as a result of injuries obtained during his arrest in April 2015.
The judge took three days to consider the charges prior to the acquittal. This ruling could affect the other officers’ cases who have similar charges. The charges against Goodson were lodged because the prosecutors believed he was able to help Gray and did not. Prosecutors believed that he was the direct result of Gray’s death by driving in a manner that caused, a shackled but unrestrained, Gray to sustain significant injuries. Furthermore, according to prosecutors, Goodson demonstrated he had a depraved heart due to the lack of assistance provided to Grey.
However, Goodson’s attorneys said that officers were unaware that Gray had been severely injured and he was to blame for not staying down on his stomach as officers had placed him. Goodson chose to have a bench trial, bypassing a jury, thereby, allowing the judge to make a ruling.
There are four other officers awaiting trial in the case. The next trial, of Lt. Brian Rice, is scheduled for July 7, 2016, where he will face manslaughter charges.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Cathy Milne
The Baltimore Sun: Freddie Gray Case: Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty on all charges
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