Saturday, June 25, 2016

3rd Baltimore officer acquitted in Freddie Gray case

Somewhat surprisingly, the officer was acquitted.  2 other officers involved in the case were also acquitted in earlier trials.

From the NYT:
"The acquittal on Thursday of a Baltimore police officer charged with murder and six other crimes in the death of Freddie Gray has dealt a devastating blow to the prosecution, legal experts say, and raises questions about whether the state should press ahead with the trials of four other officers.
Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police transport van in which Mr. Gray suffered the spinal cord injury that killed him, faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in the fatal arrest. His acquittal on seven counts leaves the state without any convictions after three trials, in one of the nation’s most closely watched police misconduct cases — and continues to leave open the question of what, exactly, happened to Mr. Gray inside the van.
Judge Barry G. Williams, who presided over the Goodson trial, issued the verdicts to a hushed, packed courtroom. He drew no conclusions about exactly when during the van ride Mr. Gray got hurt, saying there were several “equally plausible scenarios.” And he rejected the state’s contention that the officer had given Mr. Gray an intentional “rough ride” and knowingly endangered him by failing to buckle him into the van or provide medical help.
Mr. Gray was detained after fleeing, apparently unprompted, from officers in the downtrodden Sandtown neighborhood of West Baltimore, and loaded into a police wagon that made six stops in West Baltimore before it arrived at the Western District police station, where Mr. Gray was found unresponsive and not breathing, with a devastating spinal cord injury.
The death of Mr. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, set off a wave of violent unrest here last year and thrust this majority black city into the center of a wrenching national debate over race and policing. The state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, sought to quell the violence by telling protesters she heard their “call for ‘no justice, no peace,’” promising to deliver “justice on behalf of this young man.”
But the first trial, of Officer William Porter, ended with a hung jury in December; he is scheduled to be retried. A second officer, Edward M. Nero, was acquitted last month of four charges. Thursday’s verdicts instantly reignited debate here over whether Ms. Mosby had overcharged the officers and prompted speculation about what she will do next.
“This was the state’s Waterloo,” declared Warren Brown, a defense lawyer who has been watching the trials, and has been sharply critical of the prosecution.
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