P. Kenneth Burns

Reporter

Kenneth Burns is WYPR's Metro Reporter; covering issues that affect Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Prior to joining WYPR, Kenneth worked at WBAL Radio and WNAV in Annapolis.

The Prince George's County native has been a journalist since high school. He was a teen editor with Children's Express, later becoming news editor with Young D.C., a newspaper written by high school students. He started his professional career during his first year in college at WTOP in Washington, D.C. Other career stops includes the Radio America Network and Salem Communications as a producer. He also was a news contributor to WGMD in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Kenneth, who lives in Baltimore, earned his associate's degree from Anne Arundel Community College and his bachelor's degree in political science from Towson University. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Online News Association.

You can keep up with his "notebook" at kennethburns.tumblr.com and follow him on twitter @PKBNews.

P. Kenneth Burns

As you’d expect, Lt. Gene Ryan was a satisfied man Monday when Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges in Freddie Gray’s death.

Ryan, the head of Baltimore’s police union, has been among the most vocal critics of the charges filed against six police officers in the case and of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.  And some of that criticism has been inflammatory.

    

Fraser Smith and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR news team, take up the latest developments in the Freddie Gray case and what it may mean for future prosecutions.

P. Kenneth Burns

Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer among the six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray, was acquitted Monday of all the charges against him by Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Rice was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray.  Gray suffered a severe spinal injury in the back of a police van.  He died a week later.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams is expected to announce his verdict in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice Monday morning.

Rice is the highest ranking officer charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.  He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Gray died from a spinal injury suffered in the back of a police van.

Rice could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the top count; the manslaughter charge.

P. Kenneth Burns

The fate of Lt. Brian Rice is now in the hands of Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Williams heard closing arguments Thursday in the trial of Rice, the highest ranking officer in the Freddie Gray case. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in Gray’s death last year.

Judge Williams said he will render his verdict at 10 a.m. Monday.

P. Kenneth Burns

In their closing arguments, prosecutors are expected to suggest Lt. Brian Rice, as senior officer, knew more than anyone the dangers of not seat belting Freddie Gray in the back of a police van last year.  Defense attorneys will say Rice was concerned about the safety of his fellow officers and Gray as a crowd at the arrest scene became hostile.

Those arguments are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

P. Kenneth Burns

Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice will spend  Wednesday preparing their closing arguments for Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams. They’re scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Rice is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in last year’s death of Freddie Gray from a severe spinal injury suffered while being transported in the back of a police van.

This trial, the fourth of an officer charged in Gray’s death, feels like Groundhog Day: allegations similar to the previous trial, similar evidence, similar witnesses.

P. Kenneth Burns

The defense rested its case Tuesday in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice; the highest ranking officer among six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.

Lawyers for Rice called four witnesses, including two medical experts that testified in the morning.

Baltimore Police

The dismissal of the second degree assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice is just another setback for prosecutors in the Freddie Gray case who have yet to secure a conviction through three trials.

Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury last December.  He is to be re-tried in September.  Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson were acquitted by Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams in May and June, respectively.

And prosecutors have been having a hard time proving Rice bears any responsibility for Gray’s April 2015 death from a severe spinal injury.  

In addition to Circuit Judge Barry Williams' dismissal of the assault charge, prosecutors dropped one count of misconduct in office stemming frmo Gray's initial detainment.

The remaining charges against Rice are involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and another misconduct in office count.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams dismissed Monday the charge of second degree assault against Lt. Brian Rice.  He did so after the state rested its case.

Williams said while prosecutors have shown that Rice did not put Freddie Gray in a seatbelt, he was “not satisfied” that the state had shown evidence that Rice committed assault.

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