A Baltimore police officer was charged with second-degree assault after prosecutors say he struck a 14-year-old boy who was already apprehended.
Baltimore prosecutors charged Baltimore police 14-year veteran Serge Antonin on Tuesday. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 22. He also faces two counts of misconduct, prosecutors said.
"We will not tolerate the actions of any officer that breaks the law, in order to enforce the law," Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said in a statement. "The public expects, and we demand that our officers hold themselves to a higher standard."
Baltimore police union Vice President Gene Ryan said he Antonin is a good officer who served under him when Ryan was a Northeastern District shift commander.
"Serge is a good officer and he'll get his day in court," Ryan said.
On July 29, 2013, a television news helicopter's camera captured a Baltimore police officer striking a teenage car theft suspect who was being held on the ground by police in Northeast Baltimore. The teen was driving a green Honda Accord when officers from the Regional Auto-theft Task Force began following the car. They had run the car's plates through a data base and had found it stolen, police said at the time.
The Accord sped north on Belair Road before it lost control and slammed into a vehicle in a used-car lot in the 1900 block of Belair Road.
Officers converged on the car and pulled the suspect out of the passenger door. While the boy was on the ground surrounded by several officers, the TV camera captured the officer striking the teen.
Baltimore police said they initiated the investigation into the incident and that it was not prompted by a complaint from the victim or residents.
"The Police Commissioner has made clear that any officer who engages in conduct that brings discredit to the hard working women and men of the Baltimore Police Department will be held accountable," Baltimore police spokesman Lt. Eric Kowalczyk said in a statement.
Ryan said criminal charges should not be based on video footage, which may not show everything that transpired.
"A lot of times when it comes to videos, some of its decieving. A lot of times those films don't show what's leading up to what happened," Ryan said. "I know it can look wrong but they don't tell the whole story."
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