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Officer may lose eye after Harford attack, police say

Note: This entry has been updated with the new version of the story. 

A Baltimore police officer could lose sight in an eye after being hit with a beer mug during an off-duty altercation near his Joppa home, an incident the Harford County sheriff's office is calling a hate crime.

Detective Jermaine Cook was struck in the face after, police say, a man approached Cook's car at a stop sign early Thursday, and yelled at him about his driving. Sheriff's deputies who arrived at the scene said the officer, who is black, had a large cut near his left eye and was bleeding profusely, said Monica Worrell, a spokeswoman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

James Aaron Kimble, 20, was arrested at the scene and faces assault and hate crime charges. He was being held on $1 million bail at the Harford County Detention Center, pending a bail review hearing today.

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Kimble's family disputed the sheriff's office's version of events. Michael Sullivan, who said he is Kimble's stepfather, said Cook drove through a stop sign and nearly hit Kimble, sparking an argument. He said Cook pulled out a knife and a shoving match ensued, leading Kimble to swing a beer bottle — not a mug — at the officer.

"Just because this gentleman is a police officer doesn't change the fact that this was a two-way altercation." Sullivan said.

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