Officer found not guilty in Freddie Gray disciplinary hearing
The three-member board said Tuesday that Officer Caesar Goodson did not violate any police department policies.
The panel consisted of two Baltimore police officers and an outside chair.
The decision by the board was unanimous. The lawyer for the Baltimore City Police Department, Neil Duke, argued that Goodson should have been fired for failing to follow policy by not buckling Gray into a seatbelt and for failing to get him medical attention.
Last week, a forensic pathologist who testified for the defense said Gray would still have the ability to hit his head even if he had been in a seatbelt.
Goodson's lawyers say the department failed to disseminate information about a policy change requiring seatbelts.
Under cross-examination, that pathologist admitted that if Gray had been taken to the hospital when he requested to go, Gray would have never made it to the stops where he allegedly sustained the injuries.
Goodson was acquitted of all charges in a criminal case last year.
Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury after his arrest; he had to be resuscitated by EMS staff when he was pulled out of that van. Gray died a week later.
The Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement calling what happened to Freddie Gray and 'unfortunate accident.' The President of the FOP, Gene S. Ryan said, "No member of the Baltimore Police Department intentionally injured or caused Freddie Gray's death."
The statement noted that Officer Goodson was acquitted in a criminal case, the U.S. Department of Justice didn't find evidence to charge him and he's now been found not guilty on administrative charges.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby told FOX45, “While today's outcome is disappointing, we must not forget the significant progress our city has made towards criminal justice reform and police accountability."
"Since Freddie Gray's untimely death police protocols have changed, body worn cameras have been implemented, a consent decree was ordered, and federal monitors have been installed."
Mosby continued, "Our focus must remain on eliminating the division between the public and law enforcement, and my office is committed to rebuilding that trust within the criminal justice system."
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund issued a statement after the ruling was released, saying in part, “Freddie Gray was conscious and verbal when officers placed him in Officer Goodson’s van; he was unconscious and had a severed spine when medical personnel took him out. Yet, the administrative trial board found that Officer Goodson did not violate a single departmental policy. It is appalling, yet predictable given the composition of the trial board. As long as the city lets law enforcement police themselves in lieu of meaningful civilian oversight, these proceedings will not result in accountability and will fail to strengthen community trust."
Goodson's attorney told FOX45 he's glad the officer can move on with his career and life after three years of facing criminal charges.