Highest-ranking officer acquitted in the Freddie Gray case

by Abel Hampton July 24, 2016, 5:48
Highest-ranking officer acquitted in the Freddie Gray case

"We again strongly urge Mrs. Mosby to stop her malicious prosecution against the remaining three officers", Lt. Gene Ryan said at a news conference after Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams acquitted Lt. Brian Rice of all charges.

From the beginning, it was clear - as in the other trials - that the prosecution did not have a case. Prosecutors dismissed an additional misconduct charge against the officer last Thursday when his trial began; Williams subsequently dropped a second-degree assault charge halfway through the arraignment. "Most of her followers would accept that".

Three officers have been acquitted and a fourth trial ended in a hung jury. Gray's death triggered protests and rioting in the mainly black city and stoked a national debate about how police treat minorities. Gray was allegedly originally arrested for possessing an illegal switchblade. Before Rice, two others, including the driver of the police van in which Gray was injured, were found not guilty. One week into the protests, riots and looting rocked Baltimore as protesters turned violent, setting fires and throwing rocks. The controversy took a tragic turn when eight police officers were shot dead in apparent reprisal attacks staged by lone black gunmen in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The verdict could renew calls from police union leaders to drop charges against the remaining officers.

On December 3, 2014 a grand jury decided not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo for strangling Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York earlier that year.

When questioned by the defense, Porter said at that point Gray was speaking to him, making eye contact and did not show any obvious signs of injury.

Rice faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

The focus of the case was on whether or not Rice should have put a seat belt on Gray when he placed him in the back of the transport vehicle.

"This defendant is not an inexperienced officer", Schatzow also said of Rice. "The citizens of Baltimore deserve better from Mrs. Mosby's office".

Defence lawyer Warren Alperstein, who was observing the trial, said he was "not surprised by the verdict whatsoever".

Baltimore's mayor says now that an officer has been acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray, he will face an administrative review by the police department. Rice helped load Gray, 25, into the police van with his wrists and legs shackled, but without a seatbelt.

"Evidence will show that Mr. Gray's death was a tragic, freak accident that no one could have foreseen", said Defense Attorney Chaz R. Ball. Williams said prosecutors didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They said he was well aware of department policy requiring officers to seat-belt all detainees but chose to ignore it. In closing arguments, prosecutor Janice Bledsoe said Rice's actions were deliberate and that the lieutenant wanted to "punish and humiliate" Gray for resisting arrest.

Considering the outcome of the last three trials, it seems clear that the likelihood of any conviction is about zero.


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