Verdict Monday in Lt. Brian Rice trial

Attorneys deliver closing arguments Thursday
Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2018-12-31 21:06:00-05

Judge Barry Williams will render his verdict in the case of Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer charged in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, at 10 a.m. Monday. 

Attorneys delivered their closing arguments Thursday.

Prosecutors have argued Rice was in charge at the time of Gray's arrest and with his training, he should have known exactly what would happen to a shackled prisoner transported in a police van downtown without a seatbelt, and chose not to seatbelt Gray anyway.

The defense focused on the gathering crowd that several testifying officers described as hostile. Rice's attorney argued that after putting Gray in the van, his client only had seconds to decide to seatbelt Gray.

Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe said in her closing argument that Rice made "intentional" decisions that led to Gray's fatal injury in the back of a police van. 

"He had the power and control to punish and humiliate Freddie Gray," Bledsoe said. 

"What does a reasonable officer do? A reasonable lieutenant does not put Freddie Gray at risk of injury." 

Defense attorney Mike Belski, however, countered Rice had to assess the scene at Gilmor Homes, where Gray was arrested and onlookers were hostile. 

Belski also said "there was no testimony to prove" that a rough ride occurred in the police van. 

On Monday, Williams dropped an assault charge against Rice, citing lack of evidence. Williams already dismissed one count of misconduct in office on the first day of the trial.

Rice still faces manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges.

While the cases are separate, Judge Williams already ruled on the seatbelt issue during the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, who faced more serious charges in the case.

Then, Williams ruled that even if seatbelting Gray would have saved his life, "there is insufficient evidence to show that this failure created a 'very high degree of risk to the life.'"

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