The Highest Ranking Officer in the Freddie Gray Case Has Opted for a Trial by Judge

Lt. Brian Rice's trial will be decided by a judge who cleared two other Baltimore officers of charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray.

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Yet another Baltimore police officer facing charges in the death of Freddie Gray has opted to have his trial decided by a judge rather than a jury of his peers. Lieutenant Brian Rice elected Tuesday to have a bench trial, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Rice is the highest ranking official implicated in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died in police custody after sustaining injuries to his head and spine while being transported in a police van in April of 2015. Lieutenant Rice is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Rice's trial will be heard and decided by judge Barry Williams. Williams is the same judge who issued verdicts​ of not guilty to two other officers implicated in Gray's death: Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson. Goodson faced the most serious charges of any of the officers charged, and was cleared by judge Williams on June 23.

Goodson is the fourth officer to go to trial for involvement in Gray's arrest and death. In addition to Nero and Goodson, who were both found not guilty of all charges, Officer William Porter's trial ended in a hung jury in December. Two more officers, Officer Garrett Miller and Sergeant Alicia White, will stand trial in connection to Gray's death after Rice's trial concludes. 

The Baltimore Sun further reported that judge Williams will hear opening remarks for Rice's case on Thursday morning.

The City of Baltimore State's Attorney's Office did not immediately reply to Complex's request for comment.

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