‘Black Lives Matter’ is a phrase we are all more than familiar with, but how is the public reacting to the recent release of Caesar Goodson, Jr., a black police officer accused of negligent driving that killed a man in custody?
On Thursday, a judge found the sole officer charged with murder in the death of Freddie Gray not guilty of all counts. This left prosecutors without a conviction for the third time in the high-profile case that spurred riots last year.
The outcome of the trial of Goodson Jr. is the second acquittal by the Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams. Last month the judge acquitted the second officer who went to trial, and the first officer’s trial ended in a hung jury.
The 46 year-old Goodson drove the police van that transported Gray through West Baltimore on the morning of April 12, 2015. When the 25 year-old man was arrested, he was placed in the back of the van where he was not properly restrained with a seatbelt and suffered a severe neck injury, dying a week later.
When reading his ruling Thursday, Williams said repetitively that the state did not have evidence to prove Goodson acted criminally. Prosecutors did not show Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride,” that Goodson did not know Gray needed urgent medical care nor that Goodson meant to injure Gray by failing to put him in a seat belt. Williams said, “There has been no credible evidence presented at this trial that the defendant intended for any crime to happen.”
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby had previously and forcefully announced charges against six officers in the case and declared she had heard Baltimore’s “call for no justice, no peace.”
Of the six officers charged with crimes related to the death of Freddie Gray, none of them have been found guilty.