A judge found Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. not guilty of second-degree depraved heart murder Thursday morning, in the third trial related to the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who died in police custody and has become a central figure in the movement against police brutality.
Prosecutors attempted to prove Goodson intentionally gave Gray a “rough ride,” driving recklessly while Gray was shackled and without a seat belt in order to injure him. They also alleged Goodson had five opportunities to help Gray after he suffered the broken neck that would eventually cause his death. The autopsy report described Goodson observing “Mr. Gray lying belly down on the floor with his head facing the cabin compartment, and reportedly he was asking for help, saying he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t get up, and needed a medic.”
The judge, a former city prosecutor, said that the prosecution’s theories were not backed by evidence.
The first trial related to Gray’s death resulted in a hung jury and mistrial in December, and the second resulted in an officer being acquitted of all charges by the same judge. Four trials of officers remain.