A Baltimore police officer resigned from the department on Sunday after a video of him physically assaulting a man on the streets went viral, cops said.
In the video posted online Saturday, an unidentified officer can be seen pushing and then wailing on a suspect who doesn’t appear to fight back., before wrestling the man to the pavement and repeatedly slugging the suspect in the face
The officer had originally been suspended for the incident.
“I’m deeply disturbed by the video that surfaced online,” interim Police Commissioner Garry Tuggle said in a statement Saturday.
“The officer involved has been suspended while we investigate the totality of this incident. Part of our investigation will be reviewing body worn camera footage.”
On Sunday, Baltimore police said that the officer had resigned.
“The officer involved in yesterday’s incident is no longer with the Baltimore Police Department. Interim Commissioner Tuggle has accepted his resignation,” the statement said.
Commissioner Gary Tuggle said Monday that officials are considering filing criminal assault charges against the officer.
Warren Brown, an attorney for the man who was beaten, had previously identified the officer as Arthur Williams, who graduated from the Baltimore Police training academy in April and has been with the department since last year.
Video clips circulating online showed Williams confronting Dashawn McGrier, 26.
Police said the man was not charged with a crime, and Brown said McGrier was taken to a hospital and was having X-rays taken of his jaw, nose and ribs late Saturday for suspected fractures from the altercation.
Tuggle on Monday called the incident “disturbing,” singling out the officer’s “repeated head strikes” to the man. He said he also had viewed two separate body-camera videos from the incident, which he described as being “relatively consistent” with the public video.
Brown said McGrier had a previous run-in with officer Williams in June that resulted in McGrier being charged with assaulting the officer, disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, and resisting arrest. Brown said that in that incident and in the one Saturday, McGrier was targeted without justification by the officer.
Warren Brown said his client “is charged with assaulting that officer then, and so here this officer now is like, you know, going after him”.
Dashawn McGrier is being punched out on the sidewalk. “It seems like this officer had just decided that Dashawn was going to be his punching bag,” his attorney Warren Brown said
“It seems like this officer had just decided that Dashawn was going to be his punching bag,” Brown said. “And this was a brutal attack that was degrading and demeaning to my client, to that community, and to the police department.”
Tuggle said the June incident is being looked at by the department as well, but that there were no complaints filed at the time. He said officers are trained not to allow emotions related to their interactions with members of the public affect their actions, and the officer should not have allowed the June incident affect how he handled his encounter with McGrier on Saturday.
“If it were borne out of emotion, we are trained — we should be trained — to never act in an emotional way, particularly when it comes to engaging with citizens,” Tuggle said.
Williams could not be reached for comment.
At Williams’ graduation from the police academy, he received awards for top performance, including for high marks in “defense tactics, physical training and emergency vehicle operations,” for his “academic achievement, professional attitude, appearance, ability to supervise,” and for his “tireless and unwavering dedication” and “outstanding leadership ability,” according to a video of the graduation ceremony.
Police brutality subject Dashawn McGrier, [photo], was severely beaten up by Baltimore cop after he refuse to show his ID
The police department said the incident Saturday began after two officers stopped McGrier, let him go, then approached him again to give him a citizen contact sheet.
“When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated when he refused,” the department said. “The police officer then struck the man several times.”
Brown said McGrier was sitting on steps when Williams passed by in his vehicle, then moments later was walking down the street
“My client was saying, ‘What is this all about? You don’t even have probable cause,’ ” Brown said. That’s when Williams began shoving McGrier, Brown said.
Police said the officer who threw the punches was placed on suspension with pay. the second officer present during the incident, who has not been identified, was also placed on administrative duties.
Commissioner Tuggle said Monday that he is still reviewing the actions of the second officer during the incident. He said the second officer, who has not been named, had an obligation to prevent abuse by the first officer, but also to protect himself during the incident — during which he said other members of the public were gathered around, some “with sticks in their hands.”
“He had an obligation to keep himself safe. That’s hugely important,” Tuggle said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh on Saturday called the encounter between the first officer and McGrier “disturbing.” She said she was in touch with Tuggle and had “demanded answers and accountability.”
The city entered into a federal consent decree in 2017 after the U.S. Justice Department found officers routinely violated people’s constitutional rights.
Ken Thompson, the court-appointed consent decree monitor, said in a statement late Saturday that he had conveyed to Tuggle that the incident “warrants immediate investigation,” and that his monitoring team will be “watching closely in the coming days” to see how the police department conducts that work.
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the police union that represents rank-and-file officers, had also said Saturday he believed Tuggle took “the appropriate action” by suspending the officer pending an investigation.
“I’d like to believe that there is more to it, but obviously, it really makes us look bad,” Ryan said. “That’s something we don’t need right now. We don’t need another black eye.”