A Maryland judge is scheduled to hand down a verdict on Monday in the manslaughter trial of the highest-ranking Baltimore police officer charged in the death of black detainee Freddie Gray.
Lieutenant Brian Rice, 42, is the fourth of six officers to be tried for Gray’s death in April 2015 from a broken neck suffered in a police van. Prosecutors have yet to secure a conviction in the high-profile case.
Gray’s death triggered protests and rioting in the mainly black city and stoked a national debate about how police treat minorities. That debate flared anew this month with the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams has said he will announce his verdict at 10 a.m. EDT. He is hearing the case in a bench trial after Rice waived his right to a jury trial.
Rice, who is white, ordered two bicycle officers to chase Gray, 25, when he fled unprovoked in a high-crime area. The officer helped put Gray, who was shackled and handcuffed, into the police wagon face down on its floor.
Prosecutors said Rice was negligent in shackling Gray’s legs and not securing him in a seat belt, as required by department protocol.
But defense lawyers have said Rice was allowed leeway on whether to get inside a van to secure a prisoner. The officer made a correct decision in a few seconds while Gray was being combative and a hostile crowd was looking on, they said.
Rice is charged with involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. He could face at least 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Williams has acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr., the van’s driver. A third officer, William Porter, faces a retrial after a jury deadlocked.
(Writing by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell and Lisa Von Ahn)
WATCH: Video shows NYPD beating anti-police violence protesters with batons in Brooklyn
Protesters of police violence received a harsh reception from the New York Police Department on Friday evening.
The protesters had marched to the Barclays Center, where they were met with a large police presence.
Heavy police presence posted outside of Barclays Center. If you’re protesting, please stay safe.
Trump is enacting the presidency ‘George Wallace never had’: Conservative columnist
On Friday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot tore into President Donald Trump's legacy on race.
"We know how a normal president responds when a white police officer ignites furious protests by killing a black man. It is the way President Barack Obama responded in 2014 after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer who had fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the National Guard had to be called in to deal with looting and fires," wrote Boot. "Obama expressed sympathy for the protesters — their anger, he noted, was 'rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time' — while making clear that he had no sympathy with violence: 'Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts. And people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.'"
White House goes into lockdown as George Floyd protests in DC rage hotter
On Friday, CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang reported that the White House has now issued lockdown orders.
The development comes as protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota have spread to Washington, D.C. and crowds are growing angrier. Earlier in the evening, a protester scaled the wall of a federal building and spray-painted an obscene anti-Trump message above a window.
The White House is currently under lockdown orders. https://t.co/LasnCIjkum