Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams acquitted Lt. Brian Rice of all charges Monday, in the fourth trial related to Freddie Gray’s arrest and death in Baltimore last year.
Rice, 42, chose to have a bench trial, instead of a trial by jury, and Williams cleared the officer of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office in connection with Gray’s death.
The death of Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April 2015, sparked protests in Baltimore, and around the country.
“This has been a very difficult time for our city, and I thank the community for their patience during this time, and ask their continued respect for the judicial process as we move forward,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stated.
According to Rawlings-Blake, Rice will still face a departmental administrative review, now that the trial is over.
In addition, Williams said State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby’s office had ultimately failed to prove its allegations in the case, in explanation of his ruling,
“There are a number of possibilities the court could entertain, some that are innocent, and some that are not. However, the burden of proof rests with the state, and the court’s imaginings do not serve as a substitute for evidence,” Williams stated.
Williams had also previously acquitted officers Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson in bench trials on charges related to Gray’s death earlier this year.
In December, the jury trial of Officer William Porter ended with a hung jury.
Officer Garrett Miller is slated to stand trial next in the case.