On Thursday, a court rejected a bail agreement proposed by New York State trooper Christopher Baldner’s team. The plea agreement stipulated that the defendant pay $100,000 in cash, be placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring, and surrender his passport.
Baldner was charged with many counts, including murder after an 11-year-old girl was killed during a chase on the New York State Thruway in December.
“Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve, but Trooper Baldner allegedly betrayed that trust by using his car as a deadly weapon and killing a little girl,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement following Baldner’s arrest on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
“While nothing will bring Monica back, we must hold law enforcement accountable, which is why my office is committed to seeking justice in this matter,” James added.
A grand jury indicted Baldner on counts of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and first-degree reckless endangerment for his role in the crash that killed Monica Goods, a young Black girl, in Brooklyn only three days before Christmas.
According to authorities, Monica’s father, Tristin Goods, was driving with his wife and two children, Monica, 11, and Tristina, 12, in the car when it was stopped for a traffic infraction.
A chase occurred, with Baldner allegedly slamming his police car into Goods’ SUV from behind, forcing the vehicle to collide with a guardrail, flip over, and roll. The young lady was thrown out of the SUV. The infant was confirmed dead on the scene when medical personnel arrived.
Prosecutors contend, however, that during the traffic stop, Baldner sprayed pepper spray into the automobile. After the father of two drove away from the spray, the trooper chased him down, crashing his police vehicle twice into their SUV.
Goods claimed in an interview with the New York Daily News last summer that the trooper was abrasive from the start of their interaction, stating that Baldner shook the car and wanted to know where they had guns or drugs.
Monica’s mother, Michelle Surrency, said the indictment was a positive step forward, but that justice had yet to be served. “We’d been robbed.” In a statement obtained by NBC New York, she stated, “It’s not fair.”
“All I want people to know is that the war isn’t ended yet.” This is only the start. Tristina will never be the same, therefore I didn’t lose one kid that day, I lost two.”
According to CBS New York, the trooper was involved in two more crashes on the NYS thruway. This includes a January 2017 incident on I-87 in which he collided with another vehicle, seriously injuring three people and putting them in “grave danger of death,” and another two years later in which he collided with another vehicle, seriously injuring three people and putting them in “grave danger of death.”
The President of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, Thomas H. Mungeer, issued the following statement:
“The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association expresses its sympathies to the family of the kid killed in the December 2020 car accident.” We respect the legal system and are ready for the next step, which will be to offer legal representation to the Trooper in question, as is the right of every American citizen before a jury of their peers.
We look forward to a review and public publication of the facts as this matter moves through the legal system, including the motorist’s reckless actions that triggered this chain of events.”
Baldner has already been placed on paid leave.