Freddie Gray death: Baltimore cop Caesar Goodson acquitted of second-degree murder

BALTIMORE, June 23 (UPI) — Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson, one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, was found not guilty of second-degree murder Thursday for his role in the 2015 case that sparked violent protests nationwide.

Goodson, who drove the transport van following Gray’s arrest on April 12, 2015, was acquitted of the most serious charge against him.

Judge Barry Williams ruled on seven counts: Second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, vehicular manslaughter (two counts), reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Goodson pleaded not guilty on all charges. The verdict on the other charges was not immediately available.

Prosecutors, arguing Goodson’s erratic driving allowed Gray to be tossed around inside the van, called 22 witnesses during the trial. They said Goodson knew Gray was handcuffed and not buckled into a seat. Goodson did not testify.

Goodson, who faced the most serious charges among the officers charged in Gray’s death, is the third of six Baltimore police officers to stand trial. The trial of Officer William Porter ended in December with a hung jury. Nero was found not guilty on all charges after his bench trial ended in May.

Demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse early Thursday with signs that read, “Justice for Freddie Gray.”

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