Baltimore Police Suspend Officer Seen in Viral Video Assaulting Man
The Baltimore Police Department has suspended the officer who was captured on video violently assaulting a man on the street. The incident happened in East Baltimore at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday. The police department said that one of the officers is familiar with McGrier and that “the situation escalated” after McGrier refused to give officers identification.
In the now-viral footage, the victim identified as DeShawn McGrier, can be seen telling the officer: “Don’t touch me,” who then repeatedly beings punching the man. The two ended up on nearby stair steps, where the officer continued beating McGrier. McGrier fell to the ground, and the officer stayed on top of him, appearing to restrain him.
Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle suspended the officer and ordered an investigation after the agency received videos of the confrontation.
“While I have an expectation that officers are out of their cars, on foot, and engaging with citizens, I expect that it will be done professionally and constitutionally. I have zero tolerance for behavior like I witnessed on the video today. Officers have a responsibility and duty to control their emotions in the most stressful of situations,”
The suspended officer has been with the department for just over a year according to Baltimore police. The agency has not released his name. But Baltimore defense lawyer Warren Brown, McGrier’s attorney, identified him as Arthur Williams and said the same officer arrested McGrier in June, when his client was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A video of the June 26 encounter showed McGrier being held on the ground by the same officer, Brown said.
Brown said that officers were following up on the June incident when the officer placed his hands on McGrier “for no justifiable reason.”
McGrier, who was not charged over the Saturday incident, remains in a hospital. Brown said McGrier’s jaw, ribs and nose were fractured and doctors had concerns about his ability to breathe.
— T.J. Smith (@TJSmithMedia) August 11, 2018
The Baltimore Sun reports the suspended officer graduated from the academy in April, receiving three top honors, including the Police Commissioner’s Award of Excellence and the Director’s Leadership Award. He also scored the highest, 94.88 percent, “in the categories of defense tactics, physical training and emergency vehicle operations,” according to the video.
The officer’s suspension places fresh scrutiny on a department that is supposed to be reforming its police practices and is dealing with a tumultuous year — one that has been marred by the forced departures of two commissioners and concerns that the agency’s recruits have been receiving badges and guns without an understanding of lawful police work.