A police officer was acquitted Thursday of all charges in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, who died in April 2015 in the back of a police van, sparking the worst riots in decades in the Mid-Atlantic city of Baltimore, Maryland.
Six officers were indicted in Gray's death, but officer Caesar Goodson faced the most serious charges, including "depraved-heart" murder. Goodson was also found not guilty of manslaughter, assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams delivered his verdict after hearing five days of testimony in the non-jury trial. Williams ruled state prosecutors failed to show that Goodson, 46, gave Gray a "rough ride" as Gray was left unbuckled in the back of the police van.
Gray, 25, was fatally injured en route to a police station after officers bound his hands and feet in the van without securing him with safety belts.
Prosecutors said Gray was left unprotected and that belts would have prevented him from slamming into the vehicle's metal walls.
Goodson's acquittal jeopardizes the remaining court cases. Other police officers face similar, but less serious, charges.
The first trial of officer William Porter ended in a mistrial last December. Officer Edward Nero was acquitted last month.
Some information for this report was provided by AP
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