A judge explained why he found a police driver not guilty in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken on the way to the station he didn’t see any evidence of a crime.
Baltimore Judge Barry Williams ruled Thursday that the state failed to prove Officer Caesar Goodson committed murder, manslaughter, assault reckless endangerment or misconduct in office.
“There has been no evidence that this defendant intended for a crime to happen,” Williams said. “The state had a duty to show the defendant corruptly failed in his duty, not just made a mistake.”
Baltimore’s police union president, Gene Ryan, called on State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to reconsider her “malicious prosecution,” since he’s certain the remaining officers also will be found without guilt.
The case became a rallying part of the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked more outrage around the nation over how black people are treated by police and the criminal justice system.
The case hasn’t fit so neatly into the American narrative of white authorities imposing justice unfairly on black people. In this case, the defendant, trial judge, state’s attorney and mayor are all African-American and so was the police chief at the time of Gray’s death.
After the verdict, Black Lives Matter activist and Baltimore native DeRay McKesson aimed his criticism at the entire system.
“Today is a reminder that there is a set of laws, policies and police union contracts across the country that will protect any form of police behavior,” he said.
Goodson was the only one of the six officers charged in Gary’s death to be accused of murder. He’s the second to be found not guilty and another officer’s case ended in mistrial.