Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the transport van in the Freddie Gray case, has been found not guilty of all charges, including second-degree depraved-heart murder.
Goodson was accused of giving Gray a ‘rough ride’ which ultimately led to his death. Goodson was also charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles gross negligence, manslaughter by vehicles criminal negligence and reckless endangerment.
The prosecution’s case relied on proving that the ‘rough ride’ took place, and many saw it unravel when their key witness took the stand and couldn’t say whether or not the driver did anything inappropriate. Judge Barry Williams said the prosecution failed to show that Goodson ever intended for anything bad to happen.
Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, whom many believe greatly overcharged the officers in order to quell civil unrest in the city, is now 0 for 3 in trials thus far.
Goodson, a 16-year veteran of the force, was the third officer to stand trial in the infamous case of the death of Freddie Gray. The trial of Officer William Porter, the first officer to be tried, ended in a hung jury. Officer Edward Nero opted to for a bench trial and was acquitted on all charges last month. Goodson too had elected for a bench trial.
In preparation for today’s verdict, the city has canceled leave for police officers and members of the National Guard have been asked to not leave the state. Riots broke out that ravaged parts of the city following Gray’s death last year.
Goodson faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison had he been found guilty on the second-degree murder charge.
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