Baltimore, MD – The highest-ranking Baltimore police officer involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray was cleared of all administrative charges by a police disciplinary board on Friday.
A three-member panel found Baltimore Police Lieutenant Brian Rice not guilty on all 10 administrative charges brought by his department, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Lt. Rice was the shift commander in Baltimore’s western district on the day Gray, 25, died in police custody.
In July of 2016, he was acquitted in July of 2016 of criminal charges related to Gray’s death, including manslaughter.
Prosecutors said that when officers arrested Gray, they put him into the back of a police transport van in handcuffs, without a seatbelt.
After the van ride, Gray was found unconscious with broken neck. His death a week later sparked some of the worst riots ever seen in Baltimore.
Six Baltimore Police officers were charged criminally by State’s Attorney’s Marilyn Mosby following Gray’s death in custody in April of 2015. Not one officer was convicted of any charges resulting from Gray’s death.
Lt. Rice is one of five Baltimore officers suing Mosby for malicious prosecution.
Reuters TV called the disciplinary panel’s verdict a particularly stinging setback for the prosecutors who struggled to show any wrongdoing.
The administrative trial for Lt. Rice began one week after Officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the police van, was acquitted of 21 administrative charges before the disciplinary panel.
Prosecutors said that Lt. Rice held ultimate responsibility as the supervisor on duty the day Gray died.
Mike Davey, Lt. Rice’s attorney, described his client as an “extremely dedicated” officer who acted reasonably at every stage of Gray’s arrest. He said it was the police department that failed to adequately train and equip officers in the transporting of detainees, The Sun reported.
The Baltimore Police Department’s seatbelt policy changed not long before the incident that resulted in Gray’s death.
However, police officers were not trained on the new seat-belting policies and procedures. They received the information via email, Lt. Rice’s attorney told the panel.
The trial board was chaired by Prince George’s County Police Major Melvin Powell and included Baltimore Police Captain Charles Thompson and Baltimore Police Lieutenant Bryant Moore.