Reporting Mary Bubala
BALTIMORE (WJZ)–New reaction to the explosive video of a city police officer being shot by fellow officers. A city crime camera captured the chaos outside the west Baltimore nightclub where Officer William Torbit was killed. His sister watches the video for the first time at WJZ.
Mary Bubala reports.
The crime camera captures a chaotic scene and the death of an officer.
“That just don’t sit right with me,” said Sherri Torbit, as she watches the video for the first time.
Sherri Torbit is sister to slain Officer Torbit, and she’s disturbed by what she sees. The video shows her brother –on duty, but in plain clothes– arguing with a group of men and women as he responds to a distress call from another officer working security at the Select Lounge.
Officer Torbit gets punched in the face, and what follows is a tragic set of events.
Police say Officer Torbit fires his gun after getting knocked to the ground. You see people scatter. A man involved in the fight, Sean Gamble, is shot and killed by one of his bullets.
To the right of the screen is another officer –unaware Torbit was a cop – who fires at him on the ground. Three other officers join in, shooting Torbit some 20 times.
“How can you gun down somebody that many times,” Sherri Torbit said. “You know where to shoot to make a person stop. That’s close range to me. How could you not know that that was your fellow officer? I could see if it was at a distance shooting, but you’re right up on him.”
City State’s Attorney Greg Bernstein announced he will not bring criminal charges against the officers after analyzing the video from the city crime camera and reviewing testimony from more than 100 witnesses on the scene that night.
Officer Torbit’s family is extremely disappointed and angry with that decision.
On Thursday, we showed the video to attorney Byron Warnken to get his take on Bernstein’s decision.
“We don’t want to go out there with nothing but guesses, nothing but holes,” Warnken said. “There are some holes, but they mostly get filled in if you’ve got some objective information. I would say the video is the objective information.”
The mayor has ordered an independent panel to investigate the shooting. That panel is reviewing police practices involving crowd control and firearms training for officers.