BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The trial of Lieutenant Brian Rice has wrapped up for the week. Critics of the state’s case say it’s too similar to past failed efforts to gain convictions.
Rice is the highest-ranking officer charged in connection with the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Among the charges he faces — involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
The state’s case against Lt. Brian Rice has been almost a mirror of their past trials where they’ve failed to get convictions against other officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
“It’s easy for the state to look at the judge’s rulings on the very same charges with the same facts and conclude that the result is going to be the same. And today if any day would be a great day for them to just throw in the towel on this case,” said Warren Brown, lawyer and courtroom observer.
Co-defendant Officer William Porter was outside the courtroom momentarily, but left without testifying. Officer Edward Nero — acquitted of his charges — also showed up.
“I think it’s still a very hard case to win, and we know that there were gaps in the evidence that troubled the judge for the other cases, and we have to see how the state plans to fill those gaps,” said David Jaros, University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brandon Ross, a friend of Freddie Gray who recorded video of Gray’s ordeal, was among a parade of familiar witnesses. He said Lt. Rice was acting like a jerk that day.
The same expert doctor from past trials, Morris Mark Soriano, took the stand, too — again, detailing the injuries to Gray’s spine.
“And they’re just showing the same evidence over and over again, which they have to do in each case, and that’s the way the process works. But I think that we still need to continue the process because the process works and we’re still getting justice because we’re here,” said Tessa Hill-Aston, Baltimore NAACP president.
So far, the state has yet to introduce a key piece of evidence — Lt. Rice’s own statement to police. It’s not clear if they will.
Officers Nero and Porter may testify when court resumes on Monday morning.