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News Maryland Baltimore City

Charges dropped against officer accused in beating

Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Baltimore police officer accused in an attack on a young man, and the officer's attorney says he has returned to work.

The Baltimore state's attorney's office charged Officer Robert W. Mitchell with second-degree assault and misconduct in office in the beating of Tiyon Williams in May 2012, but it says new material from witnesses called into question Mitchell's involvement in the incident.

"In light of these developments, we had no choice but to dismiss the matter," said Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the state's attorney's office.

The charges were dropped in early December, but Matthew Fraling, Mitchell's attorney, said his client should never have been in court in the first place.

"Officer Mitchell's name was dragged through the mud for something that he had absolutely no inappropriate involvement in," Fraling said. "It's really offensive."

Williams could not be reached for comment, but in an interview with Fox 45 news shortly after the incident, he appeared on camera with visible facial injuries. Williams said that after he left a store in the 1000 block of N. Mount St., an officer slammed his head against a stone step. He received a dozen stitches and suffered a broken nose. Williams was not charged in the case.

Mitchell, 43, who joined the department in October 2001, was suspended with pay shortly after the incident and was charged last May.

Fraling said witness accounts were inconsistent and that Mitchell was involved only after being called to place handcuffs on Williams.

The Police Department did not respond to questions about the case. When charges were filed, Commissioner Anthony W. Batts called the allegations "reprehensible."

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