Did Baltimore Cop Cause Fatal Injury To Freddie Gray In A Rough Drive?
One Baltimore police officer fatally injured black detainee Freddie Gray when he was responsible for giving him a "rough ride" in a transport van, said a prosecutor on Thursday. He gave the opening statements during the murder trial of a third officer while trying Gray's death.
A lawyer for Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 46, argued in Baltimore City Circuit Court that the death of Gray in April 2015 was "accidental", as he had brought about his own injuries.
"There will be no evidence showing he gave a rough ride or drove improperly," defense attorney Andrew Graham said while opening what is considered to be "the highest-profile trial".
Goodson had been the driver of the police van in which Gray got a broken neck and died a week after he was arrested. It generated protests and rioting in Baltimore, sparking off a U.S. debate on how the police treated the minorities.
Goodson has been slapped with charges of "second-degree depraved heart murder", along with six other officers. He has also been accused of manslaughter, apart from other charges.
Prosecutor Michael Schatzow said Goodson had "bounced Gray around" He had driven speedily when Gray yelled and kicked in the van, after he had been arrested for running away from officers "unprovoked" in a high-crime area.
Goodson was also accused of failing to stick by the procedures when Gray entered his van, even though he was shackled. He was not given a seat belt, Schatzow told Judge Barry Williams in the case trial. Moreover, Goodson even stopped the van at a point and found that Gray was injured.
However, Graham countered that Goodson had driven carefully, with Gray getting injured because he "thrashed around" and stood up at the back of the van.
Judge Williams ordered the prosecution to give all material to lawyers for Goodson and the officers who were still facing trial.
The trial of one officer in Gray's death only ended in a hung jury, while the second one got acquitted by Williams.