The highest ranking officer on trial for the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray wants his fate to be decided by a judge — not a jury.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Lt. Brian Rice is following the lead of two fellow officers by waiving his constitutional right to a trial by jury. With his day in court scheduled for Thursday, state prosecutors will try Rice without the ability to present evidence of his ongoing police training.
Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams found the state in violation of a discovery policy, as prosecutors failed to turn in over 4,000 pages of documents related to Rice’s training until last week, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“The reality we have here — you, your office, whoever, didn’t do what you’re supposed to,” Williams said.
Documented police training has been an essential component in the prosecution’s case against the disgraced officers. Per the Baltimore Sun, prosecutors have cited training to supports its claim that the cops involved in Gray’s arrest acted against what they were taught.
“We believe that a combination of training and [general] orders would’ve alerted the defendant that the conduct he engaged in was not within the scope” of how an officer should behave, said Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow.
Rice’s request for a bench trial comes just one week after he and fellow officers asked that all criminal charges against them be dropped. Sgt. Alicia White, Officer Garrett Miller and Lt. Rice filed motions last Monday to have their charges dismissed on the basis of wrongful prosecution, NBC News reports.
That was the second time the officers requested a dismissal; their previous motions cited suspicions of their charges being politically motivated, according to United Press International. White and Miller are still awaiting trial.
Following the shocking acquittal of Officer Caesar Goodson, the Baltimore Police Union even urged State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to drop the charges against the remaining officers. Mosby quickly announced charges against the six officers involved in Gray’s death after the Baltimore man suffered fatal injuries during a ride in the back of a police van. So far, none of the officers have been convicted; two have been acquitted while one ended in a mistrial.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Judge Williams ultimately denied the officers’ latest request to have their charges dismissed. He said the prosecution’s claims proved to be “legally” sufficient and that he didn’t plan to make any “factual” findings.
Rice has since pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, the publication reports. The more serious charges stem from his failure to secure Gray with a seat belt after loading the Baltimore man into the back of the police van. Rice is currently out on $350,000 bail.