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Officer Caesar Goodson found not guilty on all counts

Posted at 10:50 AM, Jun 23, 2016

Judge Barry Williams found Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty on all counts. 

Judge Williams read a lengthy ruling detailing each charge, saying the state failed to prove Goodson's intent to hurt Freddie Gray as the driver of the police van.

This is the second acquittal delivered in the cases surrounding 25-year-old Gray's death. Goodson is the third of six officers to stand trial.

 

Goodson, the driver of the police van that carried Gray after his arrest in April, faced the most serious charges, including second-degree depraved heart murder, manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

He opted for a trial before a judge.

RELATED: Judge's verdict in Goodson trial expected Thursday

Prosecutors said Goodson was criminally negligent for failing to seatbelt Gray in the back of the police van and for failing to call a medic to assist with his injuries. Prosecutors initially said Goodson gave Gray a "rough ride" in the van to intentionally hurt him, but later abandoned that theory during closing arguments. 

Complete Freddie Gray coverage

Gray died on April 19, a week after his neck was broken while handcuffed and shackled, but not seat-belted, inside the police van.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement saying Goodson will now face an administrative review by the Baltimore Police Department. Rawlings-Blake called for patience as the proceedings come to a close. 

"I am proud that we as a community have come together to move our city forward over the past year, she said in a statement. "I know that the citizens of Baltimore will continue to respect the judicial process and the ruling of the court."

A spokesperson for Senator Catherine Pugh urged respect from the community following the verdict. 

"Protests are a vital part of democracy, but to destroy the homes and businesses many people have worked very hard to build is unacceptable," Sen. Pugh's spokesman said in a news release. "Although people may disagree with the verdict, it is important to respect each other and to respect our neighborhoods and our communities."

The next trial in the case is scheduled for July 5 with Lt. Brian Rice, the bike patrol officer who first made eye contact with Freddie Gray on the day of his arrest. 

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