A Baltimore police officer will keep his job after being cleared on Tuesday of all charges over the 2015 death of a black man in custody that inflamed the U.S. debate on race and justice, the Baltimore Sun reported.
A panel of three law enforcement officials found Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty of 21 administrative charges of violating department policies during Freddie Gray’s arrest, meaning he will keep his job, the newspaper said.
Goodson, 48, was acquitted in 2016 of second-degree depraved heart murder and other charges, the most serious brought against six officers accused in connection with Gray’s death in April 2015. None was convicted.
Gray, 25, was not restrained in a seat belt and died of a neck injury. His death triggered rioting and protests and led to court-ordered reforms of the police department.
Goodson was among five officers facing administrative charges. Two have accepted administrative discipline, and two are fighting the charges, the Sun reported.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement that he was committed to the process and the police would “stay the course” for the two other scheduled hearings.
“Freddie Gray died in police custody,” Davis said. “My thoughts and prayers remain with the Gray family. We will continue to make improvements within our organization to meet the expectations of constitutional policing demanded by our community.”
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement she would not discuss the decision, citing the two pending hearings. “To offer any extensive comments would be inappropriate until the process is completed,” she said.
Goodson, who is black, drove the police van carrying Gray after he was arrested. Many of the administrative charges had related to Goodson’s failure to make sure that Gray was safe or ensure he received medical attention.
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