Brian Rice, the Baltimore police lieutenant and highest-ranking officer involved in the death of Freddie Gray, was found not guilty today on the charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct. Gray was arrested in April, 2015 and died from injuries to his spinal cord after being put in the back of a police van for transportation to a local precinct. It is alleged by some that Gray was the victim of a police “rough ride,” a practice wherein a handcuffed prisoner is put in the back of a patrol car or police van and left unsecured by a seatbelt, so that he is violently thrown about as the police officer drives recklessly.
Brian Rice was one of three police officers on bicycle patrol near the Gilmor Homes housing projects on the morning of April 12, 2015. According to police, Freddie Gray fled when he encountered the officers for unknown reasons and was found to be in possession of an illegal switchblade knife and taken into custody. Witnesses taped video of Gray screaming in pain as he was loaded into the police van. The van stopped again 10 minutes later for Gray to be placed in leg irons after “acting irate.” By the time he arrived at the Western District police station he was in need of medical attention and was taken to the hospital in a coma 21 minutes later. He died from his injuries, including three fractured vertebrae a partially lacerated spinal cord, on April 19th.
Rice is the fourth police officer to be tried for the death of Freddie Gray. Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson were also acquitted on all charges related to Gray's death by Judge Barry Williams in three separate bench trials. The trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury last December.