Highest-Ranking Officer Faces Disciplinary Board Over Freddie Gray’s Death

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The ranking officer who gave the orders on the day of Freddie Gray’s arrest now has to defend his actions.

It’s up to a panel of officers to decide of Lt. Brian Rice broke police rules back in April 2015. He is the second officer to face the possibility of firing.

Day 1 of his administrative trial was largely a re-run of the last trial, WJZ’s Kimberly Eiten reports.

Rice, who’s been on the force 20 years, could have to give up his badge depending on the results of the trial.

Rice was in charge of the western district officers who picked up Gray, who suffered catastrophic injuries in the back of a police van. He died days later.

Last week, an administrative board found Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty of 21 charges. Goodson was the van driver.

Attorneys for the police department argued that Rice had chances to save Gray’s life along the way, but failed to seat belt him.

A Montgomery County investigator who reviewed the case was the first on the stand Monday.

Department attorneys asked: “Did you ever ask Lt. Rice why he didn’t place Mr. Gray in restraints?”

The investigator testified that Rice responded: “I just didn’t.”

But defense attorneys say police policy mandating officers secure prisoners doesn’t apply to their client, saying it gives shift commanders discretion on how to handle detainees, pointing back to the same rule book the department has tapped to bring 10 charges against Rice.

A guilty ruling on any one of those charges would mean he’s off the job.

Rice has already been cleared on criminal charges so this is the last wave of possible punishment he could face.

The trial is expected to run through Friday.

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