OFFICER

Assault Charge Dropped in Trial of Officer Charged in Freddie Gray's Death

What to Know

  • Judge Barry Williams dismissed the second-degree assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice.
  • Rice still faces charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and one misconduct charge.
  • Williams ruled that because Rice didn't drive the van, prosecutors had no evidence for the charge.

The judge dropped an assault charged against a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured in a police transport van.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams on Monday dismissed the second-degree assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in the 2015 death of Gray.

Rice still faces charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and one misconduct charge. A second misconduct charge was dropped when the trial began last week.

Williams dropped the assault charge after the prosecution rested its case and Rice's lawyers asked for the judge to acquit him.

The judge said the prosecution's basis for the assault charge was that Rice used the van in the alleged assault. Williams ruled that because Rice didn't drive the van, prosecutors had no evidence.

Rice's bench trial resumed Monday with testimony from two other officers charged in Gray's death.

After prosecutors asked Officer Edward Nero, who was acquitted, about his defamation lawsuit against prosecutors and a joint defense agreement he entered with other defendants, Judge Barry Williams ruled that Nero was hostile to the prosecution, allowing them to ask him leading questions.

Nero testified there was a "hostile environment'' where Gray was arrested and that Gray was partially cooperating, WBAL-AM reports.  

The prosecution also called Officer William Porter, whose trial ended in a mistrial.

Gray died a week after suffering a spinal injury in the van, touching off protests and rioting. 

About a dozen protesters, the largest group since the trial began, stood outside the courthouse, some holding signs referencing the recent police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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