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Goodson Trial: The state rests under a cloud

P. Kenneth Burns


Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday against police Officer Caesar Goodson who faces the most serious charges in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.   But they did so with a second witness in as many days giving testimony that conflicts with their theory that Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride” on the way to the Western District police station.

When court resumes Thursday morning, Circuit Judge Barry Williams will hear arguments on a defense motion to acquit Goodson of all the charges against him; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Prosecutors claim the “rough ride” Gray received on April 12, 2015 caused his broken neck. He died from that injury a week later.

But Stanford O’Neill Franklin, a former law enforcement official who oversaw training for Baltimore Police, said Wednesday he did not see any characteristics of a “rough ride” in the closed circuit video footage provided to him by the state.

The day before, Detective Michael Boyd – who studied the footage of the van’s route from where Gray was arrested on Presbury Street to the Western District station – said he saw no evidence of a rough ride.

Former city prosecutor Warren Alperstein, who has been following the trial, said the state has not shown any evidence to support its theory.

“There was 45 minutes of video surveillance that was presented by a detective,” he said.  “There’s no indication whatsoever of rough ride.”

Alperstein said the state has to go beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the murder charge against Goodson.

“That is going to take into account whether or not there was a rough ride,” he said. “It’s going to also take into account whether or not Officer Goodson was aware and had an appreciation of Freddie Gray’s dire medical condition.”

He said prosecutors have been having a hard time proving the rough ride theory and that Goodson did not care about what happened to Gray.

Angelique Herbert, a paramedic who responded to the Western District station on April 12, 2015, testified that Goodson helped her with the gurney while she tended to a badly injured Gray.