BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police Sgt. Welton Simpson Jr., who pushed a man during a confrontation in a convenience store and later claimed he was spit on and assaulted, was convicted on Monday of one count of misconduct in office and one count of making false statement to law enforcement, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Tuesday.
Initially, viral video showed Simpson being kicked as he was trying to make an arrest on Jan. 17, 2020, drawing criticism from Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and Gov. Larry Hogan.READ MORE: Flash Floods In Maryland Close Some Schools, Roads; Several Rescued In High Water, MSP Responds To More Than 500 Calls
But footage released later showed Simpson walk into the convenience store, exchange words with 23-year-old Zayne Abdullah and then start pushing him.
According to Mosby’s office, Simpson’s body-worn camera filmed the whole incident, and the sergeant didn’t realize it was still on after he completed a vehicle stop.
When other officers arrived at the scene following the incident, Simpson claimed Abdullah spit on him and pushed him first.
In his written report, Simpson omitted that he told Abdullah to “Move out the [expletive] way” before bumping the man’s shoulder, Mosby’s office said, and that he challenged bystanders with: “When you ready. I’ve got enough for everybody.”READ MORE: CDC Advisory Panel Backs FDA Decision For COVID-19 Booster Shots, Baltimoreans React
There was also no evidence on body-worn camera, CCTV or Citiwatch footage that Abdullah spit on Simpson, Mosby’s office said.
“This conviction demonstrates our commitment to ensuring one standard of justice for all – regardless of one’s race, sex, religion, or occupation. As administrators of the criminal justice system, we are committed to protecting public safety and the well-being of everyone in our community,” Mosby said in a statement.
Simpson was indicted on two counts related to the incident in July 2020.
Charges against Abdullah and another man were officially dropped last year, but not until after they spent four months in jail, their attorneys said.
The Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit and Evidence Review Unit of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and and Body Worn Camera Division and the Internal Affairs Division of the Baltimore Police Department participated in an investigation of the incident.MORE NEWS: 'It's Really Unfortunate': Students In Anne Arundel County React To News Of Postponed Homecoming Dances
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 21. Simpson is currently suspended from the Baltimore Police Department.