A judge denied a bail package presented by New York State trooper Christopher Baldner’s team on Thursday. The plea called for the defendant to pay $100k cash, remain under home confinement with electronic monitoring and surrender his passport.
Baldner was hit with several charges to include murder after a pursuit on the New York State Thruway left an 11-year-old girl dead last December.
“Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly violated that trust when he used his car as a deadly weapon and killed a young girl,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Wednesday, Oct. 27, following Baldner’s indictment.
“While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement to the highest standards, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this case,” James added.
In addition to second-degree murder, a grand jury also indicted Baldner on charges of second-degree manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the first degree for his role in a crash that resulted in the death of Monica Goods, a young Black girl, in Brooklyn just three days before Christmas.
Authorities claim Monica’s father, Tristin Goods, who had been driving with his wife and two daughters, Monica 11, and Tristina, 12, in the car, took off shortly after being stopped by authorities for a traffic infraction.
A pursuit ensued, which later led Baldner into reportedly ramming his police car into Goods’ SUV from behind, causing the car to hit a guardrail, flip and roll. The young girl was ejected from the SUV. When medical personnel arrived, the child was pronounced dead on the scene.
However, prosecutors claim Baldner sprayed pepper spray into the car during the traffic stop. After the father of two drove away from the spray, that’s when the trooper reportedly went after him, striking his police vehicle into their SUV twice.
During an interview with the New York Daily News last summer, Goods alleged that the trooper was argumentative from the start of their encounter, claiming Baldner shook the car and demanded to know where they had weapons or drugs in the vehicle.
Following the reading of Baldner’s charges, Monica’s mother, Michelle Surrency, said the indictment was a plus but justice has yet to be served. “We were robbed. And it’s not fair,” she said in a statement obtained by NBC New York.
“I just want people to know the fight isn’t over. This is just the beginning. You know, I didn’t lose one child that day, I lost two because Tristina will never be the same.”
The trooper had reportedly been involved in two other crashes on the NYS thruway, CBS New York reported. This includes a January 2017 incident, in which he crashed into someone on I-87 and another occasion, two years later, where he crashed into another vehicle, seriously injuring three people and causing “grave risk of death.”
New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas H. Mungeer released the following statement:
“The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association sends our condolences to the family of the child who died in the December 2020 crash. We respect the legal process and are preparing for the next step, which will be to provide legal representation to the involved Trooper, a right afforded to every American citizen tried by a jury of peers.
As this case makes its way through the legal system, we look forward to a review and public release of the facts, including the motorist’s reckless actions that started this chain of events.”
Baldner has since been suspended without pay.