A ruling for Lieutenant Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer among the Baltimore officers tried in the death of Freddie Gray, will be announced on Monday (July 18).
According to the Baltimore Sun, the case began last week and concluded Thursday afternoon (July 14) with Lt. Rice’s team and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe making their closing statements. Rice was the officer who made eye contact and handcuffed Gray to the floor of the police van as bystanders looked on. He was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. His misconduct charge was dropped on July 7 and his second-degree assault charge, on Monday (July 11).
Rice’s attorney, Michael Belsky, claims the officer was allegedly threatened by civilians who were watching Gray’s arrest. Bledsoe claims people were simply begging the officer to be careful with Gray. The Baltimore native died on April 19, 2015, one week after his arrest over spinal injuries. So far, four of the six officers charged have seen the courtroom. Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr. were acquitted in May and June, while William Porter’s case ended in a mistrial December 2015.
The New Yorker reports the prosecution would have to determine that Lt. Rice (due to his ranking) had a greater responsibility and role in assuring the safety of Gray. With two acquittals by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, the outcome of guilty verdict isn’t foreseeable.
Williams is expected to announce his ruling at 10 a.m.