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Freddie Gray Medical Examiner Testifies

Medical Examiner Carol Allan testified that she determined Freddie Gray’s death in police custody was a homicide in part because he lacked the “extreme force” required to snap his own neck.

Allan is the first prosecution witness in the manslaughter trial of Lt. Brian Rice, the fourth of six Baltimore police officers charged in Gray’s 2015 death.

During her testimony, Allan said that “if a seat belt had been used, then the type of injury Mr. Gray sustained would not have occurred.”

She did clarify that her homicide determination “is a definition that has no standing, legally,” and that it simply means “death at the hands of another.”

A defense attorney says Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice acted as any reasonable officer would when he chose not to buckle a combative arrestee into a seat belt in the tight compartment of a police transport van.

Rice faces manslaughter and other charges in the death of that prisoner, Freddie Gray, whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but unrestrained inside the compartment.

Attorney Chaz Ball said during opening arguments that the young black man was kicking and screaming during and after his arrest, and attracted a crowd, creating a dangerous environment for police.

Ball told Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams Rice’s “nine-second decision” not to put Gray into a seat belt “wasn’t criminal negligence, it was 100 percent reasonable.”

The lawyer also described Rice as an “18-year veteran, a husband, a father, (and) a Penn State grad.”

Last week, Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted of all charges in the case. Goodson faced the most serious charges in Gray’s death, including assault, three counts of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.