Acquitted Officer Testifies in Freddie Gray Trial

     BALTIMORE (CN) — Closing with the testimony of an officer acquitted of separate Freddie Gray charges, defense attorneys for the officer accused of Gray’s murder rested their case Friday.
     Of the six officers Maryland has blamed for Gray’s death, Caesar Goodson, 46, faces the most severe charge of second-degree depraved-heart murder.
     Goodson had been driving the police van that delivered 25-year-old Gray unresponsive to the police station on April 12, 2015. Gray died one week later from a spinal cord injury he sustained during the trip.
     With the state trying to prove that Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride” as payback for Gray resisting arrest, Goodson’s defense this morning called to the stand Edward Nero.
     Just last month, Baltimore City Judge Barry Williams found Nero not guilty of misdemeanor charges related to Gray’s death.
     Discussing Gray’s behavior when officers placed him in flex cuffs and shackled for the van ride, Nero said Gray drew a crowd with his screaming.
     Police placed a security perimeter around Goodson’s transport, Nero said, adding that Gray “violently shook the van” once inside.
     Goodson has followed Nero’s lead and waived his right to a jury trial.
     After the officer declined to take the stand in his own defense today, Judge Williams set closing arguments for Monday morning.
     In addition to murder, Goodson is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
     During a hearing on his defense team’s motion to dismiss the charges, Williams questioned whether prosecutors had presented enough evidence to prove the “rough ride” theory.
     The single expert witness to testify to the “rough ride” theory crumbled under cross-examination and said he did not see any evidence Goodson had driven in a manner which would have caused Gray’s injury.
     Police claim to have detained Gray because he ran after making eye contact. Upon stopping him, police claim to have found that Gray was carrying an illegal knife.
     Nero was the second officer to take the stand in Goodson’s trial. The prosecution previously had Officer William Porter testify about relaying Gray’s request for medical attention to Goodson.
     Porter is scheduled to be retried on manslaughter charges in September after the first effort ended in a hung jury.
     The case has highlighted several problems with the justice system in Baltimore, including how citizens are treated by police, a widening gap between police and prosecutors, and judicial antics such as the prosecution failing to hand over all applicable evidence during discovery.
     A decision on the case is expected to be announced by the middle of next week.

%d bloggers like this: