BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police have released body-worn camera footage of the now-viral video of an officer striking a woman after she struck another officer twice.
Now, we’re seeing how the encounter started from Sergeant Greig Higley’s body-worn camera.
Some Baltimore police bwc video from an incident Friday. A woman drove through a red light on Gay Street then circled around in the middle of the street. She hit one officer twice. Another officer then hit her—knocking her to the ground. That officer won’t be charged @wjz pic.twitter.com/6OkUcuOYtQ
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) June 2, 2020
Police said several officers working to direct traffic downtown on May 29, noticed a vehicle driving erratically in the area near Baltimore and Gay streets around 10:30 p.m.
Sgt. Graig Higley saw a vehicle coming towards him and then driving through a closed intersection with a red light, police said.
The video shows the driver then makes a U-turn toward Sgt. Higley, who then orders the woman out of the car with his gun drawn. When she exits, she allegedly engages with officers and Sgt. Higley makes the decision to take her into custody.
She then sits in the street as officers call for backup, but then stands up.
The woman starts yelling, “Don’t touch me” and “I feel attacked,” but no one is seen touching her.
“If you don’t violate my rights, I won’t violate yours,” she says to Higley.
“You tried to run me over,” he says.
“You were in the way,” she argues.
“It was blocked,” Higley says, referring to the closed street.
“You’re stupid, don’t talk to me,” the woman tells the officer.
As Higley tries to take her into custody, the video shows her strike him in the face — twice.
Officer Terry Love, who was assisting Higley, strikes the woman in the face. She falls to the ground.
In the video, people nearby start screaming at the officers.
She was arrested and taken to an area hospital for an emergency petition and medical treatment.
Commissioner Michael Harrison viewed the video on May 29 and ordered an immediate investigation. At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, he said he couldn’t comment further due to the ongoing investigation.
Deputy Commissioner Brian Nadeau of Public Integrity Bureau has directed a full review and has suspended the officer’s police powers during the investigations. At this time the PIB investigation is still ongoing.
The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office said the officer’s actions don’t rise to the level that he should face charges.
The city state’s attorney’s office will not be filing charges against Officer Love and issued the following statement to WJZ:
“We have completed a thorough review of this unfortunate incident, and while we strongly disagree with the action the Officer took, it does not rise to the level of illegality. The Officer had other options he could have pursued to de-escalate the situation rather than striking the woman with a closed fist, and we recommend that BPD review this officer’s conduct in the immediate instance, consider his past record of conduct, and take appropriate internal action.”
Dr. Jeffrey Ian Ross is a criminologist with the University of Baltimore. He reviewed the limited body-worn camera video.
“The woman appeared distraught—perhaps disoriented— and the police officers seemed to handle the situation to the best of their ability,” Ross said. “These are tough situations for police officers. I’m not in any shape or manner trying to give them a pass, but they needed to bring the situation under control. It could have been dangerous to the officers and the woman who was taken under arrest.”
The video, which circulated on social media and drew criticism from some city leaders, showed the woman hit a police officer in the head downtown Friday night. When she went to swing again, the video showed the second officer hit her in the throat, knocking her to the ground.
City Council President and mayoral candidate Brandon Scott called the officer’s actions “unacceptable,” and Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young called it “deeply disturbing.”
The police union said the “officer was protecting his colleague from further attack. Escalation only occurred after the female attacker continued the assault.”
Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon is representing the woman and told WJZ he will be reviewing the body-worn camera video. He had no further comment at this point.
Although charges won’t be filed, the officer could face other disciplinary actions.