The trial of Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, one of the six officers charged in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, began Thursday, and he's already had one of the charges against him dropped.
According to WISN, Rice was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree reckless assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. Prosecutors dropped one charge of misconduct in office for allegedly failing to show probable cause when arresting Gray, after acknowledging that Rice was not involved in Gray's arrest.
Rice is the highest-ranking officer charged in Gray's death. The second charge of misconduct in office, which still stands, is for failing to secure Gray into the back of a police van with a seat belt.
"He was in charge," Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow said during opening statements, WISN reports. "Because of the decisions that Lt. Rice made, Freddie Gray is dead."
Gray was arrested April 12, 2015, and died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody. The state charges that because Rice was the highest-ranking officer during the arrest and transport, Rice's decision-making contributed to Gray's death.
"This defendant is not an inexperienced officer," Schatzow said, indicating that Rice was aware of what needed to take place and failed to make sure it happened. "He knew and ignored it."
The defense stated that Rice was not responsible for Gray's death, instead insisting that the 25-year-old died from a freak accident.
"Evidence will show that Mr. Gray's death was a tragic, freak accident that no one could have foreseen," defense attorney Chaz R. Ball said, WISN reports.
Judge Barry Williams will decide Rice's guilt or acquittal. Williams is the same judge who acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr. on all charges related to Gray's death.
Read more at WISN.