Published On: Fri, Jun 24th, 2016

Freddie Gray murder case: Judge Williams finds Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty

Judge Barry Williams ruled Friday that Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the third of six Baltimore police officers to stand trial for their alleged role in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

Goodson, who drove the police van carrying Gray, 25, faced up to 30 years in prison if he was convicted of the most serious charge, second-degree murder and he chose to leave his fate up to a judge instead of a jury.

Goodson and the packed courtroom sat silent throughout the judge’s reading of the verdict.

Officer Caesar Goodson

Officer Caesar Goodson

Deputies had warned those in attendance against overt protests as sheriff’s deputies guarded the front door of the courthouse as protesters chanted and held signs.

Officer Edward Nero, who was found not guilty by the same judge last month, sat in the front row.

The verdict comes three days after arguments wrapped up in the case.

Williams was asked to evaluate the testimony asserting that during the ride Gray sustained the injury that led to his death and whether that injury was a result of actions taken or not taken by Goodson.

During closing remarks Monday, the state’s argument was that a wide right turn taken by Goodson was part of a “rough ride,” asking, “Can we not agree that taking a turn wide is less dangerous?”

A “rough ride” is police lingo for teaching someone a lesson by putting him or her in a police wagon without a seat belt and driving so jarringly that the person is thrown around.

Goodson was also found not guilty of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a statement on the judge’s decision today, asking residents to remain patient in the process and to respect the ruling.

“Now that the criminal case has come to an end, Officer Goodson will face an administrative review by the Police Department. We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion,” she said. “I am proud that we as a community have come together to move our city forward over the past year. I know that the citizens of Baltimore will continue to respect the judicial process and the ruling of the court.

A representative for the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn Mosby, said, “We will not be issuing any statement and will continue to respect the gag order implemented by the judge.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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