New York State Trooper Christopher Baldner was arrested this week for the murder of Monica Goods. Goods was just 11 years old when Baldner rammed her father's vehicle knowing full well that there were children in the car. The vehicle flipped over, Goods was ejected, and pronounce dead at the scene. The murder took place on December 22, 2020, but due to double standards in prosecutorial priorities Baldner was allowed to remain free while still working for the New York State Police (NYSP) for nearly a year. He is now being held in the Ulster County Jail on charges of 2nd Degree Murder, 2nd Degree Manslaughter, and six counts of 1st Degree Reckless Endangerment. After the indictment was filed the NYSP immediately suspended Baldner without pay. He is scheduled to appear in court on November 4th when he is expected to seek bail.
We have been covering this case since it was brought to our attention in June (https://copblaster.com/blast/35601/new-york-state-police-trooper-christopher-baldner-killed-11-year-old). We were outraged that anyone let alone a police officer would ram a vehicle with small children inside. We were also outraged that anyone let alone a police officer would pepper spray a vehicle with small children inside. We believe that Monica's father, Tristan Goods had a legitimate fear for his safety when he drove away from Baldner after being attacked with pepper spray. Police officers are trained not just to apprehend people, but also to make sure that they don't take unnecessary risks while pursuing suspects. Even if Mr. Goods didn't exactly have a legal right to flee Baldner, he did nothing to justify ramming his vehicle. When a motorist drives away from an officer they have the right to pursue that person, but not with unnecessary forceful tactics. Usually when someone drives away from the police they will eventually come to their senses and pull over. Mr. Goods was robbed of the opportunity to come to his senses. In so doing Baldner demonstrated a depraved indifference to human life which is why he is charged with 2nd Degree Murder. The other charges are either lesser included offenses or related to the reckless endangerment of other passengers including three people he endangered in 2019.
Today we found out that this is not the first time that Baldner has gotten into trouble for unnecessarily ramming a vehicle. In 2019 he rammed a vehicle containing three people causing the driver to lose control and crash into a guardrail. Baldner's strikingly similar conduct in that case also demonstrated a depraved indifference to human life which is why he is charged with reckless endangerment.
The NYSP released a false statement following Baldner's arrest claiming that "Accountability is critically important to our agency." If that were true they would have at a minimum suspended Baldner without pay last year when he killed Monica Goods. They also would not wait for a conviction to fire him. If accountability were important to their agency it wouldn't take a murder indictment to get Baldner suspended and it would at least be enough to get him fired.
The Goods family has setup a website https://justiceformonicagoods.com/ which a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/MonicaGoods).