The highest-ranking Baltimore police officer charged in the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray has been cleared of all charges.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Circuit Judge Barry Williams has acquitted Lt. Brian Rice, one of the officers who initially arrested Gray, of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. This is the third officer charged with Gray’s death to be cleared. Officer William Porter’s December trial was declared a mistrial.
Prosecutors allege that Rice acted negligent when failing to secure Gray in the back of a police van on April 12, 2015. However, defense attorneys said that doing so would have put Rice in danger.
“The simple fact that he didn’t [buckle in Gray] means he’s guilty of these crimes?” Williams said during closing arguments last week.
Gray died on April 19, one week after he was arrested for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade. Police officers failed to buckle him into the police van, which resulted in Gray severing his spinal cord.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought charges against six officers in the case. Officers Garrett Miller and Alicia White are awaiting trial. A retrial is scheduled for Porter in September.