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The Baltimore officer who faced the most serious charges in the death of Freddie Gray was found not guilty Thursday morning.
Caesar Goodson, the officer who drove the police van the day Gray died, has been cleared on all charges: second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Many believe the case against Goodson — along with being the most severe — was also the strongest for the prosecution. The state alleged that Goodson was the officer who gave Gray the "rough ride" and that he had several chances to render aid to Gray.
But the judge disagreed, saying in court, "The law is clear: The standard is higher than mere civil negligence."
Defense attorney Warren Brown, who is not involved with the case, reflected on the verdict. "This was allegedly their strongest case, and as you can see, they fell flat on their face in this regard," he said.
And defense attorney Warren Alperstein, also an observer, said: "Given that Goodson was the driver of the wagon, on paper he was the most responsible to secure Freddie Gray and seek medical assistance. I think it causes real problems for the prosecution."
Now that Goodson has been cleared on all his criminal charges, he'll face an administrative review by his own police department.
Brian Rice is the next officer scheduled to go to trial. On July 5, he'll face assault, manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges.