A Baltimore Police officer has been arrested and charged with first-degree assault for an on-duty incident in which he allegedly struck a man over the head with a club on Christmas Eve, according to police and the alleged victim’s attorney.
City prosecutors charged Officer Kevin Battipaglia on Thursday, and police suspended him without pay, police spokesman Chief T.J. Smith said in a statement. In addition to assault, Battipaglia is charged with misconduct in office.
“We take these matters very seriously,” Smith said in the statement. “At this stage, the evidence in this case will be scrutinized in the judicial system.”
The incident occurred on Dec. 24, 2017, in Northeast Baltimore, and the aftermath was filmed and posted online.
Defense attorney Latoya Francis-Williams said her client, 21-year-old Darrian Carr, was the victim. He is being held without bail on gun charges related to the incident.
“I’m pleased to hear the officer is being charged,” she said Friday. “I’m displeased that my client is still fighting criminal charges.”
She said Carr was walking down the street when Battipaglia approached him, struck him over the head and knocked him to the ground.
The video shows Carr on the ground, with an officer — not Battipaglia — straddling him and holding him down. Another unidentified officer is holding what appears to be a service weapon drawn. Battipaglia can be seen holding his police-issue club, and at one point kicks a can toward a crowd that has gathered.
Carr was charged with a handgun offense in relation to the incident. Francis-Williams disputed the charge, saying “no one can figure out where this handgun came from.”
Carr is being held without bail, with a trial date tentatively set for April.
City pay records show Battipaglia’s salary in 2017 was $66,122, though he took home $100,958 including overtime. He was not listed in online court records, so it was not immediately known if he had an attorney.
Sun reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this article.