BREAKING: Highest Ranking Officer In Freddie Gray Case Found Not Guilty

Lt. Brian Rice, one of the six members of the Baltimore Police Department charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, arrives at a courthouse for opening statements in his trial in Baltimore, CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY
Lt. Brian Rice, one of the six members of the Baltimore Police Department charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, arrives at a courthouse for opening statements in his trial in Baltimore, CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

A third officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office by Judge Barry Williams on Monday morning. Lt. Brian Rice, the officer who put Gray in a police van without buckling him in, was the highest ranking officer of the six implicated for the fatal van ride.

Over one year ago, Gray was walking in his Baltimore neighborhood when Rice and two other officers on bike patrol rode nearby. The 25-year-old wasn’t doing anything illegal, according to police reports, but he started to run anyway. Rice and his colleagues chased Gray, and according to witnesses, pressed him to the ground so violently that his body was folded “like origami.”

In a cell phone video captured by Kevin Moore, Gray was screaming in pain as the arresting officers shackled him and continued pressing him down. Unable to walk on his own, Gray was dragged to a police van parked several feet away. Rice then sat Gray down without securing his seat belt.

Gray was tossed around the van and suffered a fatal injury to his neck and spine. He was repeatedly ignored by transporting officers, who observed that Gray wasn’t buckled in and needed medical attention. But the time medics were called, it was too late to save him. He died six days after the arrest.

BREAKING: Van Driver In Freddie Gray Case Found Not Guilty On All CountsJustice by CREDIT: AP Photo/Brayan Woolston Caesar Goodson, the third Baltimore officer to go to trial for the death of…thinkprogress.orgGray’s death was ruled a homicide by Dr. Carol Allan, a medical who testified against Rice earlier this month. “If a seat belt had been used, the type of injury that Mr. Gray sustained would not have occurred,” she said.

Within days of the fatal incident, former Police Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted that fatal mistakes were made.

“We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been. No excuses for that, period,” he said. “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby originally charged Rice with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, false imprisonment, and misconduct in office. Mosby’s office dropped the false imprisonment charge days later, and Williams dropped the assault charge last week.

Rice is the third officer acquitted of all charges by Williams. Van driver Caesar Goodson, who faced the harshest charges of all six officers, was found not guilty in June. Officer Edward Nero, one of the arresting officers, was cleared in May. Another officer, William Porter, faced a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on all charges.