Baltimore Officer Caesar Goodson Found Not Guilty in Freddie Gray’s Death

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Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr., center, exits the Circuit Court on the first day in the trial on June 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Getty)

The Baltimore police officer who was driving the van in which Freddie Gray died in April 2015 has been found not guilty on all charges by a judge, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. faced the most serious charges of the six officers arrested in Gray’s death, including second-degree depraved heart murder, manslaughter, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Judge Barry Williams issued his decision Thursday after an eight-day trial. Goodson opted for a bench trial, rather than a trial by jury.

Goodson, 46, was the third officer to go on trial, following Officer William Porter, whose case ended with a hung jury and will be re-tried, and Officer Edward Nero, who was found not guilty.

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray. (Family photo)

Gray, 25, died on April 19, 2015, a week after he was stopped by police and arrested. He was found unresponsive in the back of a police transport van during the ride to jail. His death sparked large protests across the city of Baltimore that at times turned violent, with protesters clashing with police and burning buildings.

The state presented 22 witnesses during the trial, arguing the “rough ride theory,” that police intentionally injured Gray in the back of the van, according to WBAL-TV. The defense had nine witnesses testify, including Nero. Goodson himself did not testify.

Lieutenant Brian Rice, who is accused of manslaughter, is the next officer to face trial, starting on July 7.

The city of Baltimore settled with Gray’s family, paying them $6.5 million for the 25-year-old’s wrongful death, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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