Goodson, 46, opted out of taking the stand in his defense. He faces the most serious charges in the Freddie Gray trial, including second-degree “depraved-heart” murder, manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment charges. He opted for a bench trial in early June.
Prosecutors point to Goodson as the key person responsible for safely transporting Gray, 25, after he was arrested in Baltimore on April 12, 2015. Goodson, they say, did not respond to Gray’s requests to seek medical care and drove recklessly, failing to secure Gray with a seat belt once he was in the van and ultimately causing his fatal spinal injury.
The defense rested around 11:30 a.m. after Nero’s 15-minute testimony ended, the Baltimore Sun reports. Prosecutors asked Nero about Gray’s conduct during his initial ride in the police van.
“He was not being very cooperative,” Nero said in court. “He was being very passive aggressive” and started to “bang, yell and scream” inside the wagon.
“It started to become a hostile environment,” he said.
According to The Washington Post, Nero’s testimony fortified the defense’s angle: Goodson didn’t place a seatbelt on Gray because he was combative.
Earlier in the week, Officer William Porter testified on behalf of the prosecution, saying that Goodson was at fault because Gray was in his custody. Porter also faced trial, which ended in a hung jury in December. A retrial is set for September. He was forced by an appeals court to testify under limited immunity from prosecutors.
Goodson is the third officer to stand trial in the Freddie Gray murder case. Officer Edward Nero‘s trial finished with an acquittal last month.
The Washington Post writes:
Nero’s appearance on the witness stand Friday came after the judge struck the testimony of a Baltimore police detective. The detective taught traffic safety in the department and said her lesson plan didn’t include teaching officers about the buckling prisoners into the back of police wagons. But Judge Barry G. Williams eliminated her testimony because she could not remember whether she instructed Goodson.
The judge also on Friday rejected a defense request to admit the closing arguments prosecutors made in Nero’s trial as part of Goodson’s case. In Nero’s trial, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said the officer was responsible for putting Gray in a seat belt because custody of Gray never transferred to Goodson. But in Goodson’s case, prosecutors have been arguing that the van driver has custody for all prisoners traveling in the wagon.