Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice either neglected protocol while supervising the arrest of Freddie Gray or made reasonable decisions at a chaotic scene, says the Baltimore Sun. The question of whether Rice acted with reason or neglect was left Thursday to members of a police trial board. The panel’s members began deliberations after a four-day administrative trial for Rice, the highest-ranking officer to face administrative charges in Gray’s death. In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors sought to blame Rice for a series of alleged infractions surrounding Gray’s arrest and the injuries the 25-year-old suffered in the back of a police van more than two years ago. The charges range from failing to check on Gray to ignoring new policies requiring that detainees be secured in seat belts. Rice, 44, was absolved of criminal conduct during a trial last year.
“We’re not here to prosecute high crimes,” said Neil Duke, the attorney prosecuting the case for the city. “We’re here to determine whether or not he followed protocol.” Rice placed Gray in the back of the police van handcuffed and shackled but not seat-belted, prosecutors said. After the van ride, Gray was found unconscious with broken vertebrae in his neck. He died one week later. As a shift supervisor that morning, Rice was responsible for the arrest of Gray, the prosecutor said. “He’s the quarterback,” Duke said. “Everything has to go through him.” Gray’s death led to protests and riots across the city. The officers who arrested Gray have been cleared of criminal charges, and five of them were brought to trial on administrative charges.