Thursday, June 23, 2016

While You Were Sleeping: Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. Trial

You all remember Freddie Gray right? I know that he could easily be lost in the amount of Black men and women being killed by police or in their custody particularly the last few years. He was the one given the “rough ride” and died in custody last year. One of the officers that was given the largest amount of charges was officer Caesar Goodson Jr. One charge was second-degree depraved heart murder which I'd never heard of an had to look up. It states that it is “the form of murder that establishes that the willful doing of a dangerous and reckless act with wanton indifference to the consequences and perils involved, is just as blameworthy, and just as worthy of punishment, when the harmful result ensues, as is the express intent to kill itself. This highly blameworthy state of mind is not one of mere negligence. It is not merely one even of gross criminal negligence.”

Now, that sounds pretty fucked up. Goodson was acquitted of that along with three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, an reckless endangerment and misconduct in officer. The judge went over this for three days before acquitting him. The problem with this guy with the most amount of charges being acquitted bodes well for the other five officers involved in the case that have lesser charges than him. Prosecutors say that Gray broke his neck while handcuffed in the back of the police van and received no help and that Goodson made five stops without making any attempt to help him.

While in the van he was shackled but not placed in a seat belt. Goodson's attorney blamed Gray himself saying that he was placed on his stomach but decided to stand up. Gray's death led to rioting and looting which if course never solves anything but I get why people lost their shit. Goodson went for a bench trial which meant that he skipped right past a jury trial and left the decision to a judge that apparently thinks it is okay to just go “My bad...” when causing the death of someone. Criminal or not, no one should be placed in custody and allowed to be harmed so negligently. 

Every officer involved has already plead not guilty. One of the other cops officer William Porter had a trial end in a hung jury and mistrial late last year. Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges in May of this year. Garrett Miller, Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White all have trials later this year.

People aren't stupid. They know what is going to happen in these trials. They know that law enforcement protect themselves against prosecution better than they protect the public. They know that if you happen to be a particular skin color that your encounters with police are 50/50 that you'll end up in the papers twice. One for your death/beating and second for the riots named after you/obituary. It sucks and just when you start to think that some headway is being made in improving things things like this cop being acquitted of everything happen. In terms of humanity it is disappointing.

Click here for previous While You Were Sleeping.

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