Police driver acquitted in Freddie Gray case

Caesar R. Goodson Jr., one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, arrives at a courthouse for jury selection in his trial, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Baltimore Md. Officer Goodson Jr., was driving the police van in which Gray suffered a fatal neck injury. Maryland courts spokesman Terri Charles said Monday that Officer Caesar Goodson's trial is postponed indefinitely, pending further proceedings before the state Court of Special Appeals. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, Pool)

BALTIMORE (AP) — A judge has found a Baltimore Police van driver not guilty of all charges in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose broken neck in police custody set off Baltimore’s worst riots in decades.

This photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department on Friday, May 1, 2015 shows Caesar R. Goodson Jr., one of six police officers charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray. (Baltimore Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department on Friday, May 1, 2015 shows Caesar R. Goodson Jr., one of six police officers charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray. (Baltimore Police Department via AP)

Six officers were charged in Gray’s death, but only Officer Caesar Goodson was accused of murder. Gray was fatally injured after officers bound his hands and feet and Goodson left him unprotected by a seat belt that prosecutors say would have kept him from slamming into the van’s metal walls.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams delivered his verdict Thursday after hearing five days of testimony in the non-jury trial. He found Goodson not guilty of “depraved-heart” murder, manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment.

Protests and rioting after Gray’s death on April 19, 2015 set the city on fire, forcing Maryland to bring in the National Guard. The unrest forced the city’s mayor to abandon her re-election campaign, and the Department of Justice opened an investigation into allegations of widespread police abuse.

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