If Baltimore trials of police officers were offered on a line in Vegas the same way professional football games are, I’d start thinking about putting some money on them after the prediction I made yesterday. As had been anticipated, Baltimore City Judge Barry Williams delivered his verdict this morning in the bench trial of Lieutenant Brian Rice on charges stemming from the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. As usual, the news broke first on Twitter.
— ABC7News (@ABC7News) July 18, 2016
As predicted, the judge brought in Rice not guilty on all charges. (Baltimore Sun)
Prosecutors in Baltimore have failed for the fourth time to secure a conviction in the Freddie Gray case, with Circuit Judge Barry Williams acquitting Lt. Brian Rice of all charges related to Gray’s arrest and death.
Williams cleared Rice, 42, of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in a downtown Baltimore courtroom on Monday morning. The judge had dismissed a second-degree assault charge at the trial’s midpoint, and prosecutors dropped a second misconduct charge at the start.
Rice selected a bench trial rather than a jury trial, putting his legal fate in Williams’ hands. He was was fourth of six officers charged in the case to go to trial.
As we previously discussed, this case seemed doomed from the start. If the other officers who directly had their hands on Gray were not found culpable, ladling such onerous charges on the Lieutenant in charge based on the theory that he should have known better wasn’t very promising. Also, the Gang Who Couldn’t Prosecute Straight had already soured the milk with Judge Williams when they attempted to dump seven thousand pages of training records into the mix only days before the trial began. Coming from the same team who had previously attempted to hide exculpatory evidence from the judge in the previous trials, they clearly weren’t doing themselves any favors.
So where does Marilyn Mosby go now? Will she still move ahead, spending city resources and tying up the courts to attempt to prosecute the two remaining officers? The trial of Officer Garrett Miller is supposed to start on the 27th. Sgt. Alicia White is on the docket for October 13th. If anything, those two were even more minimally involved in Gray’s arrest than Nero and Goodson, both of whom were already found not guilty. At this point these continually flailing efforts are looking like nothing more than stubbornness and pride, not to mention gross incompetence and the growing perception that these trials are entirely about trying to punish the police to appease the former rioters and not anything resembling justice.
Mosby is facing calls to drop the remaining cases from both the law enforcement and legal community. On top of that, she’s fighting off charges calling for her disbarment. She is now zero for four on these attempts and the last two don’t look any more promising. If she has any trusted friends left who can offer her advice, it might be time to fold her cards and write this hand off as a lost cause.