A trial has begun for the second police officer accused in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a man who died in police custody after being arrested last year. Court documents indicate that Gray was arrested on April 12, 2015, and taken in a police van to Western District police station in Baltimore. During the van ride, officers handcuffed and shackled Gray, but they did not put a seatbelt on him. When they arrived at the station, Gray was no longer breathing. A week later, he passed away.
The most recent officer to be tried in the case is Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr. Officer Goodson drove the van that transported Gray to the station. He is one of six police offices to be charged in the man's death. Goodson's colleague, Officer William G. Porter, was hit with manslaughter charges but last month his trial resulted in a hung jury.
Goodson has been charged with second degree murder. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to a 30-year prison term. Jury selection in his case is set to begin on Monday.
Local Reverend Wants the Officers to Be Convicted
Rev. Cortly Witherspoon, who is leading protests at the courthouse regarding Gray's death, said, "I don't think that the city can afford for this trial to be perceived as another loss, another check in the loser column ... The general public will not respond well."
The accused police officer, Goodson, has worked for the police force for 17 years. During the 45-minute drive to the police station on April 12, 2015, Goodson stopped six times but it does not appear that he tended to his passenger, who was found unconscious by the time they arrived at the police station. Prosecutors say that the officers failed Gray, who was in dire need of medical attention, and Goodson is most liable for his death.
A Case Embroiled in Controversy
Gray's death inflamed racial tensions in the Baltimore area, where there was already a great rift between black residents and law enforcement. Eventually, protests erupted into riots after news of Gray's death spread. Now, many community leaders are hoping to bring the officers to justice for the alleged wrongdoing that led to Gray's fatal mistreatment.
Whatever happens in this case, it has brought a great deal of attention to the issue of police violence and police misconduct, especially with regard to the treatment of racial minorities across the country.
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