A Maryland court Monday acquitted a third officer for the death of Freddie Gray, declaring Lieutenant Brian Rice not guilty on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct.
Williams is expected to announce his decision at 10 a.m., following a week-long bench trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Gray's death triggered protests and rioting in the mainly black city and stoked a national debate about how police treat minorities. Prosecutors say he fell and struck his head.
In Baltimore, prosecutors have scrutinized the same narrative in trial after trial, finding few answers to lingering questions about the death of Gray and failing to win a conviction against any of the six officers charged, fueling criticism that Mosby's charges were too ambitious or politically motivated and eroding the confidence, even among supporters of the trials, that a conviction can be secured. Here's who they are. "To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for, 'No justice, no peace", said Mosby.
The controversy flared anew this month with the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police in Minnesota and Baton Rouge.
Rice's attorney Michael Belsky countered that police could use discretion if they believe their safety is at risk. The prosecution further argued that because of Rice's seniority he should have known about newly-passed rules and regulations requiring detainees to be fastened to seat belts when in transit.
According to ABC News, Rice was identified as the officer who initiated the pursuit of Gray in April 2015 and was accused of recklessly endangering his life by failing to secure him with a seatbelt as he was transported in the rear of a police van. Rice's decisions were "100 percent reasonable" given the circumstances, his attorneys said. Of the six officers charged in the racially charged case, three are white and three are black.
Prosecutors suffered setbacks throughout the proceedings. Before the trial began, the judge hit the state with a discovery violation, saying prosecutors waited until the last minute to provide the defense with some 4,000 pages of documents related to Rice's training that they planned to introduce as evidence. An assault charge was thrown out by Judge Williams halfway through the trial due to insufficient evidence. [Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images] Riots took place in Baltimore after Freddie Gray's death. Undaunted by the facts and the obviousness of her office's pending failure, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby continued her trend of persecution by prosecution.
Two more officers, Officer Garrett Miller and Sergeant Alicia White are still pending trials. In June, the same outcome arrived for Ceasar Goodson, who drove the van in which Gray broke his neck, for a host of charges including depraved heart murder and manslaughter.
Williams acquitted the officer facing the most serious charges last month, as well as another officer in May. Officer William Porter is scheduled to be re-tried after a mistrial was declared in December.
Officer Garrett Miller's trial is set to begin July 27 and Sgt. Alicia White's October 13.