BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore City police officer resigns after a video went viral on social media of what appears to be the officer punching a man repeatedly on a street in east Baltimore, while another officer tries to break up the beating.
Baltimore Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle released a report on the incident. At around 11:45 p.m. on August 11, officers were working a special crossborders crime initiative in the area of the 2500 block of Monument Street.
Two officers encountered a man, whom one of the officers is familiar with. After the first encounter, officers released the man and then approached him again to provide him a citizens contact sheet. When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated after the man refused.
The police officer struck the man several times before he was taken into custody and received medical treatment for his injuries.
BPD received videos of the confrontation almost immediately, and the Office of Professional Responsibility was dispatched to the area. The officer involved in the confrontation has been suspended, and the second officer involved has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
The State’s Attorney’s Office was contacted and given information related to this case. The man, identified as Dashawn McGrier by his family, was not criminally charged and was released from custody.
The officer who struck McGrier has been a member of the agency for just over a year.
Warning: This video contains violence and graphic language.
Police have not identified the officer involved in the fight, or the second officer in the video that at one point put his hands on the man’s arm but does not appear to stop the other officer from throwing punches.
Shantel Allen, McGrier’s sister, said the level of force used by the officer was unneccessary. She claims it began over questions about possible pot possession.
“I was angry, I was crying, I was hurt,” Allen said.
McGrier’s mentor, Terry Williams, claims he saw the whole thing unfold.
“It happened so fast, but you know it’s clear. Stevie Wonder could see that this police was definitely over-aggressive,” Williams said.
McGrier will be represented by Baltimore attorney Warren Brown. A press conference with the family is scheduled for Monday.
Brown said McGrier is currently being treated at Johns Hopkins for damaged ribs and a fractured jaw.
Baltimore Police Department’s Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle released a statement in response to the video:
“I’m deeply disturbed by the video that surfaced online earlier today. 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. If anyone witnessed this incident we are asking you to contact the Office of Professional Responsibility at 410-396-2300 or visit the following website: https://www.baltimorepolice.org/transparency/citizen-complaints.”
He then released another statement later in the day:
“On a day that we graduated future Baltimore police officers, I am deeply concerned by the conduct I witnessed today,” said Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle. “While I have an expectation that officers are out of their cars, on foot, and engaging 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.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh also released a statement later Saturday afternoon:
“I have seen the very disturbing video of an encounter between a Baltimore City police officer and Baltimore City resident and have demanded answers and accountability. I am in close contact with interim commissioner Tuggle who has not only suspended the officer in question but has launched an immediate investigation into the full circumstances of this encounter. We are working day and night to bring about a new era of community-based, Constitutional policing and will not be deterred by this or any other instance that threatens our efforts to re-establish the trust of all citizens in the Baltimore Police Department.”