UPDATE: Former Baltimore City police officer Arthur Williams was officially charged with misconduct in office and first-degree and second-degree assault after a video showing him punching a man in the face was uploaded to social media.
After the Saturday incident, Williams was suspended, and on Sunday, he resigned.
The victim in the video, 26-year-old DaShawn McGrier, didn’t try to fight back as Williams struck him in the face more than a dozen times. After the violent attack, Williams pinned McGrier to the ground. McGrier was bleeding.
McGrier’s attorney, Warren Brown, told reporters his client suffered greatly, as he sustained a fractured jaw, two fractured ribs, and ended up losing feeling in his left leg as a result of the assault.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby defended charging the officer by saying that all Maryland residents must be treated equally under the law.
"It is important that the community knows there is one standard of justice, no matter your sex, race, religion, or occupation," she said. "Police officers are sworn to protect and serve and when that oath is taken for granted and an abuse of that power is evident, we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This is an integral part to rebuilding trust in our criminal justice system."
The second officer seen in the video observing the incident remains on duty. Mosby said that at the time that “no criminal charges” against him seem appropriate.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby Provides Update on Former BPD Officer and Citizen Incident from August 11, 2018 https://t.co/Ms8KFmgQFf— Baltimore SAO (@BaltimoreSAO) August 14, 2018
.@BaltimorePolice say former Ofc Arthur Williams has turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest on 1st and 2nd degree assault and misconduct in office. Police statement below. pic.twitter.com/2e2GW7IxUL— Brian Kuebler (@BrianKuebler_) August 15, 2018
Williams, who had just graduated from the Baltimore police training academy in April, had been involved in another incident with McGrier, as McGrier was charged in June with reportedly assaulting Williams. The trial involving this assault case is scheduled for later this month.
The Baltimore Police Department has a long history of abuse, as detailed in a Department of Justice report put together following Freddie Gray’s death in 2015. After the report, a court-ordered consent degree was issued, and the department is now under the watch of “an independent federal monitor.”
The decree ordered the agency to “[instruct] police to use de-escalation tactics before resorting to violence and calls for police to be instructed on implicit bias and victim-centered practices for handling sexual assault cases."
As we can see in this case, former officer Williams may not have gotten the memo about using de-escalation tactics before resorting to violence.
Still, the fact that an officer was actually indicted for abusing his power is a step in the right direction. In the future, other departments may feel pressured to follow suit.
Until then, we must continue to highlight the importance of implementing major reforms across police departments in the country so that this type of incident is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to think we have a police brutality problem, making it harder for these reforms to take place under his watch.
A Baltimore police officer was caught on camera confronting an African-American man on the sidewalk after which he pushed him against a wall and brutally beat him for allegedly refusing to show his identification card.
The video shot by a bystander started with Dashawn McGrier screaming at the police officer.
"For what?!" McGrier yelled on a sidewalk.
The officer whose identity wasn’t revealed, responded by shoving the man backward against a brick wall.
"Don't touch me!" the 26-year-old man resisted, slapping the cop's hand away.
From that point on, the situation got really ugly. The officer began pummeling McGrier repeatedly in his head while he didn’t fight back whatsoever.
As the officer continued to rain blows on him, the man tripped and fell across some concrete steps to a doorway. The cop followed McGrier to the ground and pinned him down with his arm across his neck.
As concerned onlookers shouted, another officer appeared briefly to separate the two men before backing away from them. At that point of time, McGrier’s blood had started to pool on the sidewalk.
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident– which was latest in line of controversial use of force against African-Americans by police.
“I’m deeply disturbed by the video that surfaced online earlier today. 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,” said Tuggle.
Following the violent incident, the Baltimore Department tweeted that the officer had resigned.
UPDATE:— Baltimore Police (@BaltimorePolice) August 13, 2018
The officer involved in yesterday’s incident is no longer with the BPD. Interim Commissioner Tuggle has accepted his resignation. The second officer remains on administrative duties. This remains an active criminal investigation.
The incident reportedly began when two officers were working on "a crime suppression detail related to crime in the area," approached the man in the video.
"After the first encounter, officers released him and ... approached him again to provide him a citizen's contact sheet," said Baltimore police spokesman T. J. Smith.
According to Smith, officers are required to make citizens fill a contact sheet before they can ask them questions about any type of investigation.
"When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated when he refused," police said.
McGrier was taken to the hospital with reported injuries on his jaw, nose and ribs.
Baltimore is still dealing with the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death that stoked tensions between African-Americans and law enforcement agencies when the 25-year-old suffered a fatal spinal injury while being transported in a police van back in 2015.
In the wake of the recent incident, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh also issued a statement.
My statement on the video of the Baltimore Police Officer pic.twitter.com/Wp5GJk80zt— Mayor Catherine Pugh (@MayorPugh50) August 11, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls