- Officer Caesar Goodson opts for a bench trial in the death of Freddie Gray
- Judge Barry Williams will decide his fate; he acquitted another officer in the case last month
Officer Caesar Goodson elected for a bench trial Monday. That move means Judge Barry Williams
, not a jury, will decide the verdict in his trial.
Goodson was the driver of the police transport van where prosecutors say Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury in April 2015.
Of the six officers who were charged, Goodson faces the most serious charges: second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment.
The death of Gray, who was black, ignited a wave of protests as debate surged nationwide over whether police use excessive force, particularly against African-Americans.
Riots erupted in Baltimore
last year after Gray's funeral.
In December, the judge declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked
in the case of William Porter, the first officer on trial in connection with the arrest and death of Gray. Porter is scheduled to face a new trial
Last month, Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero, one of three bike officers involved in the initial police encounter with Gray.
The verdict drew mostly outrage on social media but praise from police and the Gray family attorney.
Three other officers have yet to stand trial.