The woman who was recorded being struck by a Baltimore police officer after she hit another officer has been arrested, the department said Monday.
Baltimore Police Department spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge wrote in an email that the woman seen in videos circulating on Instagram and Twitter in an altercation with police that ends with an officer striking her from behind has been arrested. Eldridge declined to give further details.
Eldridge forwarded any questions about the woman’s identity and the arresting officer’s name to the State’s Attorney’s Office, where a representative did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
The woman’s arrest is the latest development in the case after police announced Saturday that the officer seen striking the woman from behind was placed on administrative leave while the department investigates the incident. The department has not identified the officer.
Online videos show a barefoot woman shouting at an officer late Friday night on an unidentified street in downtown Baltimore. In the video, the officer appears to grab the woman’s arm as she walks away from him and she responds by striking him in the face.
Another officer behind the woman appears to grab her arms after the punch, but she manages to land a second blow to the first officer’s face. The second officer then appears to strike her in the face from behind.
The woman then falls backwards onto the street, and the video shows the first officer turning her face and body toward the road. An unidentified man tries to approach the officers and the woman before additional police at the scene tell him to back away.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young called the video footage “deeply disturbing” in a statement Saturday morning. The Democratic mayor said he instructed Harrison to tell officers citywide that “sound, constitutional policing is the only acceptable way we’re going to do things here in Baltimore under my watch.”
“I believe the first officer, who was struck multiple times by the woman, showed remarkable restraint by not retaliating as he was being assaulted,” Young said in a released statement. “The woman should have been placed under arrest and not assaulted. Our system of justice does not involve the concept of an ‘eye for an eye.’ ”
In the Facebook post, Baltimore Police said the deputy commissioner for the Public Integrity Bureau ordered a “full review” and “suspended the officer’s police powers” during the investigation into the incident by the department’s Special Investigations Response Team.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison confirmed at a 4:30 p.m. news conference Saturday that the woman was in the area of protests held Friday night in response to the recent death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis.
“The officer has been removed from his assignment, and [is] on administrative duties until the outcome of that investigation,” Harrison said.
He declined to comment further because there are two investigations: one relating to the woman’s arrest, and an internal one focused on the officer who hit the woman.
The monitoring team overseeing the Baltimore Police Department consent decree said in a tweet that it was aware of the incident and was in contact was Harrison.
“We have been informed that BPD immediately suspended the officer and referred the case to the State’s Attorney’s Office for investigation,” the team said in another tweet. “The Monitoring Team will continue to watch this situation and remains as committed as ever to actively monitoring all situations like this.”
The city entered into the consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department in 2017 after a federal review found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory policing in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death from injuries sustained in police custody in 2015.
Friday night’s incident occurred as protests emerged nationwide in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Several dozen protesters marched through downtown Baltimore Friday evening, joining national demonstrations after a bystander video showed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, causing the man to say “I can’t breathe.”
City Council President Brandon Scott posted a message online early Saturday that stated he attended the “peaceful” protests downtown Friday. Scott said he spoke with Harrison directly, and that the crowd agreed to disperse. Scott also said he was aware of the video showing a woman striking a police officer before apparently being hit by another officer.
“The first officer showed great restraint. The response by the second officer is unacceptable period,” Scott said. “I spoke with [Harrison] who ensured me that he and his team where on top of it.”
Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 responded to Scott in a statement signed by FOP President Mike Mancuso and posted to Twitter, saying, “it is reprehensible that you would use political pressure after a situation where one officer was protecting his colleague from further attack. Escalation occurred only after the female attacker continued the assault.”
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“Policing in America is broken,” said Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, in a statement Saturday. “While we have taken a number of positive steps in Maryland, we can’t be satisfied until every citizen has confidence in their police department.”
The work group will be chaired by Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Howard County Democrat. Areas of inquiry will include: how police misconduct is investigated, whether there should be statewide standards on police use of force, how body cameras are used and ways to prosecute crimes committed by police.
Jones’ announcement did not refer to the Friday incident involving Baltimore police.