Freddie Gray: Officer Caesar Goodson Not Guilty on All Charges

Freddie Gray: Officer Caesar Goodson Not Guilty on All Charges [VIDEO]

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Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the Baltimore Police van driver accused of giving the “rough ride” that killed Freddie Gray, was acquitted of all charges Thursday (June 23) by Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson, 46, faced second-degree depraved heart murder, three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The second degree murder charge was the most serious charge of any of the six officers indicted in Gray’s arrest and death last April.

The 25-year old died a week after suffering a fatal injury in the back of the police van, sparking citywide protests against police brutality.

Judge Williams considered the charges for three days before rendering a verdict. He said that the state “failed to meet its burden” in terms of presenting evidence to support it’s case and also said that the timeline of the injuries to Gray was not clear.

“As the trier of fact, the court can’t simply let things speak for themselves,” Williams said.

His acquittal, which comes after Williams considered the charges for three days, throws the rest of the cases into jeopardy. The other officers charged face similar, but lesser accusations.

Williams said the timeline of Gray’s injuries remains unclear, and the state “failed to meet its burden” to present enough evidence to back its assertions. Baltimore’s WBAL reports that Williams said the state failed to prove evidence of a rough ride or that Goodson failed to get medical attention and and that he failed to seat belt Gray. Williams said the state failed to prove on each charge that Goodson intentionally harmed Gray and he said Goodson didn’t show any animosity toward Gray or even claimed to know him.

“As the trier of fact, the court can’t simply let things speak for themselves,” Williams said.

Prosecutors alleged Goodson had five chances to render aid to Gray after his neck was broken in the back of the van, and they argued that Goodson was the direct cause of the injuries, driving the van in a reckless manner that threw Gray in the back of the van’s steel cage, shackled but unrestrained by a seat belt. As a certified field training officer, prosecutors said Goodson knew Police Department rules and broke them.

Closing arguments were Monday in front of a courtroom that included Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Officer Nero was acquitted last month of all charges stemming from Gray’s death by Williams in a bench trial.

The next trial, of Lt. Brian Rice, who is charged with manslaughter, is scheduled to begin July 7. The other officers’ trial dates are: Miller (July 27), Porter (Sept. 6) and Sgt. Alicia White (Oct. 13).

All the officers have pleaded not guilty.

Check out some immediate reactions below:

 

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