Less than 24 hours ago, Thursday June 23, 2016, a Baltimore City, Maryland court found the third officer involved in the Freddie Gray case, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., not guilty of murder. Goodson was also acquitted on charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. All through the week the resounding question was why Freddie Gray was not in a seat belt when he was taken into police custody April 12, 2015?
Freddie Gray died while in police custody and his death was among the many in the news that year gaining national attention. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center. Gray died on April 19, 2015; his death was ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord. The reaction to his death was familiar, at that time, but unwanted; it seemed like “Black America” was a target and the nation was reacting through protest and activism.
Charges were filed against six police officers; Caesar R. Goodson Jr., William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett Miller and Alicia D. White by Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby. Charges ranged from; involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle, misconduct in office, and false imprisonment.
On Friday, June 17th, attorneys for Goodson the van’s driver accused of 2nd degree murder rested their case on his defense. Witnesses were brought in, including officer Edward M. Nero who during his own trial last month did not testify on his own behalf and was acquitted in his case. Officer Nero testified during the case for Goodson, briefly, that during the ride Freddie Gray was; passive aggressive and had instances of screaming and yelling and was combative. Nero also commented that he shook the van violently and was banging around in the bus once inside.
The other 4 officers involved have trial dates that stretch into October, 2016.