Officer Caesar Goodson trial verdict recap: Not guilty on all charges
The Baltimore Sun|
Jun 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A Baltimore judge is expected to issue a verdict in the second-degree murder trial of police Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr. on Thursday morning.
The Baltimore Police van driver accused of giving a "rough ride" that killed Freddie Gray was acquitted of all charges Thursday by Circuit Judge Barry Williams.
The following were the charges against Goodson. He was found not guilty on each: » Second degree departed heart murder » Second degree assault » Misconduct in office » Manslaughter (involuntary) » Manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence) » Manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) » Reckless endangerment
His acquittal, which comes after Williams considered the charges for three days, throws the rest of the cases into jeopardy. The other officers charged face similar, but lesser accusations.
Williams called "rough ride" an "inflammatory term" that is "not to be taken lightly," and said the state had failed to prove such a ride was given to Gray.
Williams said the only time the prosecution proved that Goodson had neglected his duty to secure Gray with a seat belt was at the van's fourth stop.
"The failure to seat-belt may have been a mistake or it may have been bad judgment, but without showing more than has been presented to the court concerning the failure to seat-belt and the surrounding circumstances, the state has failed to meet its burden to show that the actions of the defendant rose above mere civil negligence," Williams said.
The judge repeatedly mentioned the higher burden to prove criminal negligence, compared to civil negligence.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Goodson will remain suspended by the Police Department and now faces an administrative review. With Goodson's acquittal, however, his pay will immediately be restored, and he may apply for more than a year of back pay. His annual salary in 2015 was $72,540.