BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The Goodson Trial verdict expected later this week will be a watershed moment in the Freddie Gray case and could affect policing around the country.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was driving the police van when 25-year-old Gray suffered catastrophic injuries. He is the only officer charged with murder.
A conviction in the trial would be a game changer, in a case that’s already captured worldwide headlines and had a wide-ranging impact on Baltimore.
WJZ asked policing expert Rob Weinhold what’s at stake with this verdict?
“If you’re a law enforcement officer, you’re watching this verdict as closely as you watched a verdict in your career,” said Weinhold. “The reason is, it has a training impact and an operational impact on how officers do their job each and every day. I don’t know many officers who haven’t been charged with the responsibility of taking care of a prisoner, so this absolutely has an impact.”
It came out during the trial, that the number of arrestees processed at Central Booking plummeted 25-percent the year of Freddie Gray’s death compared to the year before. 10
The numbers: 42,852 in 2014, dropping to 32,782 in 2015.
“The boy started screaming and hollering, ‘please, someone help me, you’re hurting my legs, get off of my legs.’ And they said to him, ‘shut the f up,’” said Harold Perry, who witness Gray’s arrest.
For Perry the impact is personal. He witnessed Gray’s arrest from his home across the street and believes someone should be held responsible for his death. He isn’t sure if anyone will be.
“It wouldn’t be a victory. It would be that they held them accountable for their actions because each of them were negligent by not giving that young man assistances. After Nero was cleared of all charges, it seems like the handwriting is on the wall,” he says.
Now–it’s all up to judge Barry Williams–with a city watching and waiting.
“I think you have a city that’s much better prepared for the outcome, whatever the outcome may be,” said Weinhold.
Judge Williams will read the verdict in open court on Thursday morning.