Officer Caesar Goodson, the Baltimore police officer who drove the transport van Freddie Gray rode in after his arrest was found not guilty of all charges.
Guns reported that following a sensational trial in the case of a Baltimore man who died while in police custody, a Circuit Court Judge found the first of six officers charged in his death innocent Thursday.
Goodson was on trial for the April 19, 2015 death of Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr., 25, who had been in a coma after being arrested by Baltimore Police the week before following a “rough ride” in a prisoner van. Six officers including Goodson were placed on leave and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby sought criminal charges against them after Gray’s death resulted in a series of violent riots in the city.
Goodson was indicted on charges of second-degree depraved heart murder; involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence), misconduct in office and reckless endangerment while the city reached a $6.4 million settlement with Gray’s family.
On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams found Goodson not guilty on all charges, noting prosecutors could not make a compelling case
“The Court acknowledges the injuries to Mr. Gray and notes that they occurred while he was in police custody in the back of the van that the defendant was driving,” noted Williams in court. “However, the Court finds that there is insufficient evidence that the defendant gave or intended to give Mr. Gray a ‘rough ride.’”
Goodson went on to state that, “Based on the evidence presented, the Court finds that Mr. Gray was injured while riding in the van that the defendant was driving. If there was evidence that the defendant intended to give Mr. Gray a rough ride as alleged, it may have been sufficient to show that the defendant caused his death but, as noted, this Court does not find that the evidence showed that was the intended action of the defendant while transporting Mr. Gray.”
The case now throws the future trials on four other officers– Garrett E. Miller, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White–all on lesser charges, in doubt.
Williams found the sixth officer, Edward M. Nero, not guilty in March.