BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A policy he said he’d never seen at the time of Freddie Gray’s arrest, could cost a Baltimore police lieutenant his job.
Defense attorneys are digging into police rule books to try and save a police lieutenant’s job.
Baltimore PD Lieutenant Brian Rice is accused of violating policy during the arrest of Freddie Gray.
He was the ranking officer where Gray suffered deadly neck injuries in the back of a police van.
Attorneys are picking apart emails that outlined new police policies on putting a seat belt on suspects, sent out just three days before Gray’s arrest.
One of those emails included a policy that Rice is accused of violating.
19 words buried in 78 pages of email attachments. An overlooked police policy that could cost Rice his job.
Wednesday, during Rice’s administrative trial, both sides picked apart the rule released just days before Gray suffered what would become deadly neck injuries.
The policy said officers are required to seat belt prisoners, and Gray wasn’t.
On April 3, 2015, the policy was signed into effect. On April 9, the department emailed the policy to officers. Three days later, Gray suffered his neck injury while in police custody.
The next day, an order came down that all districts, and all shifts were required to read the seat belt policy at roll call.
Attorneys for the department argue that Rice should have been responsible for checking his emails, and should have seen the new rule.
His defense says it was buried in pages of policy, and a glitch with his department issued phone prevented him from opening email attachments.
It’s a problem that police administrators testified they were aware of.
Putting the blame not only on communication errors, but department equipment; from cell phones, to computers, to the transport vans in place in 2015.
On the stand, a lieutenant who writes department policy said “If we transported in cars instead of wagons, we wouldn’t be here,” and “I don’t think the seat belts themselves prevent anything.”
The defense called its final witness Wednesday afternoon, meaning both sides will begin closing arguments Thursday morning.
Rice is the second officer to go in front of the trial board, another officer Caesar Goodson was cleared on all charges last week.