Despite acquittal, Baltimore prosecutors to push on

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore judge dealt the state yet another blow in the protracted and unsuccessful prosecution of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who was injured in police custody.

Even though it was the judge’s third consecutive acquittal in the case, prosecutors seem to be willing to try the remaining three cases amid mounting pressure to call it quits.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams found Lt. Brian Rice, who faced manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges, not guilty Monday, telling prosecutors they failed to establish that Rice was aware of his duty to buckle Gray into a seat belt, and more importantly, that he deliberately breached his duty in order to put Gray in danger.

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“There are a number of possibilities this court could entertain, some that are innocent and some that are not,” Williams said. “However, the burden of proof rests with the state, and the court’s imaginings do not serve as a substitute for evidence.”

Gray was arrested in April 2015 when he ran from police in a high-crime area. He was handcuffed and shackled but left unbuckled in the back of a police van and suffered a critical neck injury.