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Lt. Brian Rice acquitted in death of Freddie Gray

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Posted at 7:23 AM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2018-12-31 14:48:50-05

Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, has been acquitted of all charges against him. 

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams issued his ruling Monday morning. Rice faced involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges. 

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

The defense focused on the gathering crowd at the time of Gray's arrest. Rice's attorney argued that after putting Gray in the van, his client only had seconds to decide to seatbelt Gray.

Complete Freddie Gray coverage

Williams had already dismissed two charges against Rice, including assault and one count of misconduct. 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement following the verdict, reminding the public that Rice still faces an administrative review by the police department.

"This has been a very difficult time for our city and I thank the community for their patience during this time and ask their continued respect for the judicial process as we move forward," the mayor said. 

Sen. Catherine Pugh, the Democratic nominee for mayor, also released a statement, reminding residents to "exercise patience and respect for the judicial process."

"Even though there will be disagreements on this outcome, we have an opportunity to continue the public dialogue around police and community interaction – it is not an easy conversation but a necessary one if we are to solve the longstanding problems that exist," Pugh said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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