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Judge drops charge against Lt. Brian Rice in Freddie Gray case

By Shawn Price
Judge drops charge against Lt. Brian Rice in Freddie Gray case
Brian W. Rice, one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. A Maryland judge has dropped an assault charge against Rice after finding prosecutors failed to make their case on the charge after three days at trial. Photo courtesy of Baltimore Police Department

BALTIMORE, July 12 (UPI) -- A Maryland judge dropped an assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice on Monday, ruling the state had failed to prove after three days at trial the officer worked with someone else in an assault.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams came as the prosecution rested its case. Rice still faces charges of manslaughter, misconduct and reckless endangerment over the death of Freddie Gray.

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Gray, 25, died a week after sustaining a neck injury in the back of a police transport van on April 19, 2015.

Rice, 42, is the fourth officer and highest ranking to go on trial in the case. Officer William Porter's trial ended in a mistrial in December and officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr. were acquitted in their respective trials in May and June.

Of the 12 witnesses prosecutors have called during the trial, two of them were Nero and Porter.

Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow argued the two were hostile witnesses, due to defamation lawsuits the men had filed against Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, and cooperation they had given to Rice's defense. Nero and Porter's appearances supported Rice assertion that Gray was not secured in the back of the van because the officers felt outnumbered and under siege from a crowd as Gray was arrested.

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