Baltimore police are investigating whether officers used excessive force in the arrest of a pair of West Baltimore brothers Sunday, the department said.

Officers say that one man punched an officer as the two resisted arrest, while witnesses alleged that officers used unnecessary force in detaining the men following a dirt bike crash in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood.

Charles Peters had just crashed his dirt bike into a tree on Laurens Street at about 1 p.m. when police arrived.

An officer saw the 37-year-old limping away in a white T-shirt and camouflage shorts toward North Fulton Avenue, with three other men Sunday afternoon. When officers approached the group, Peters tried to run away and the other men tried to block the officers' path, police said.

Officer Beamer, whose first name was not released, told Peters to stop and eventually caught up with him in the 1700 block of Lorman Ave., police said.

As Beamer tried to arrest Peters, his brother, Kenneth Peters, pushed the officer, police said. When Beamer turned to confront Kenneth Peters, Charles Peters punched Beamer in the right ear, police said. Charles Peters ran to the 1400 block of N. Fulton, where officers again pinned him down and, this time, managed to arrest him. During a struggle, Beamer's badge was stolen, police said.

By that time, a group of roughly 20 people had formed around the men and tried to interfere with the arrest, which Officer Philip Meadows said prompted him to brandish a Taser at the surrounding people, according to a probable cause statement by Meadows.

Police released Meadows' account along with a statement pledging to investigate witnesses' allegations.

Both Peters brothers were detained, and a search of the surrounding area for the missing badge was unsuccessful, police said.

Charles Peters was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center for injuries from the bike accident. Kenneth Peters was charged with assault, resisting or interfering with an arrest and disorderly conduct. He has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 6.

No charges are listed for Charles Peters, and police did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday night about whether he was charged with a crime.

The Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and an outspoken advocate for victims of police brutality, had planned a news conference Tuesday to protest the officers' conduct.

The event was canceled, however, because the brothers decided to defer to their lawyer, who advised them not to speak to the media, Witherspoon said. Witherspoon didn't know who was representing the brothers, and charging documents for Kenneth Peters did not list an attorney. No phone number was listed for either Peters brother.

Police spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Connolly said in a statement that the department is "aware of the allegations that have been made."

She added that anyone with information is asked to call Internal Affairs at 410-396-2300.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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