Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer on the scene on the day Freddie Gray’s spinal cord was severed, was cleared of any wrongdoing today by a police trial board.
Rice was found not guilty of 10 administrative charges, WBAL-TV reports. The alleged violations were tied to his failure to make sure Gray, 25, was seat-belted in the back of a police van, ensure that the scene was secure, and follow other police procedures for cases involving use of force.
Police haven’t released any statement or commented on the ruling.
The prosecutor for the city, Neil Duke, had reportedly argued that Rice failed to do his job as the ranking officer on the scene on April 12, 2015.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Rice’s attorney, Michael Davey, said his client is “extremely happy,” and went directly to police headquarters downtown to have his policing powers reinstated.
Rice was one of six officers charged by city prosecutors in Gray’s death. All were acquitted or had their cases dropped in spring and summer of 2016. While federal investigators declined to charge them with any additional offenses in September, five of the six still faced trial board hearings for alleged internal police rule violations. The trial board is comprised of police officers from outside of Baltimore.
Rice is the second officer acquitted of any rule breaking after Caesar Goodson, who drove the van carrying Gray, was found not guilty last week. Two others, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, accepted “minor disciplinary action” in lieu of facing the trial board, and are both still employed by the police department.
Each officer would stand to lose his or her badge if found guilty of any one of the administrative charges.
The last public trial board hearing, for Sgt. Alicia White, is set to begin Dec. 5.
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