Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the first time, Baltimore police release video of a plainclothes officer being gunned down by fellow police. The mayor has ordered an independent panel to investigate the shooting. Kai Jackson has a first look at the chaos caught on camera.
Multiple things are happening in the video where Officer William Torbit and civilian Sean Gamble die. The question is whose interpretation of the events will be the definitive explanation.
City crime cameras captured the chaos outside the Select Lounge on January 9. Baltimore police say Officer William Torbit responded to a distress call from another officer working security at the west Baltimore nightclub.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll able to provide a full review,” said Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.
What followed is a tragic series of events. Police say on the video, you can see 22-year-old Sean Gamble throwing punches. Police say Torbit, on duty but in plainclothes, shot and killed Gamble after Gamble hit him. After Torbit shot Gamble, police say officers—unaware Torbit was a cop—shot him some 21 times. He later died.
After a lengthy investigation, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein decided not to file charges against the officers who killed Torbit.
“We have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to warrant criminal prosecution of any of the officers who discharged their weapons,” Bernstein said.
That decision didn’t sit well with Torbit’s family.
“That one officer was doing his job,” said Torbit’s sister, Sherri Torbit. “How do you not recognize a fellow officer?”
“Now that the prosecutor has made his decision, [we're having an independent panel] review this,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor’s panel will review police practices involving force, crowd control and firearms training.