Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking of the six police officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, is the third officer acquitted of all charges.
Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams dismissed the charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct. From the Baltimore Sun:
Williams, reading from prepared remarks, said prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proving the charges against Rice beyond a reasonable doubt, instead asking the court to rely on “presumptions or assumptions” — something it cannot do. He said the court “cannot be swayed by sympathy, prejudice or public opinion.”
Based on the law, he said, the prosecution did not show that Rice acted in a “grossly negligent manner,” required for a manslaughter conviction. It also did not show that Rice acted in an unreasonable way or was aware of and chose to ignore the substantial risk by placing Gray in a police van without a seat belt, which is required for reckless endangerment, he said. And, it did not show that Rice acted “corruptly,” which is required for misconduct in office, he said.
A judge recently acquitted Officer Caesar Goodson, who faced the most serious charge of second-degree murder. A judge acquitted Officer Edward Nero in May. Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial last year.
The two remaining police officers, Officer Garrett Miller and Sgt. Alicia White, will be tried later this year.
A judge unsealed court documents last month that revealed three of the six indicted Baltimore police officers are suing state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby over allegations that include defamation of character, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
The Washington Times reported that a law professor said he intends to file a complaint with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission against the lead attorneys who prosecuted the officers.