Baltimore police officer who was shown on video beating man is charged with assault and turns himself in
By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Christina Tkacik
The Baltimore Sun|
Aug 14, 2018 at 8:30 PM
Baltimore City States Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced an indictment against former Baltimore Police officer Arthur Williams in the beating of Deshawn McGrier. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun video)
A Baltimore police officer who repeatedly punched a man over the weekend in an altercation caught on video was charged with assault and turned himself in Tuesday.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced Tuesday that a grand jury indicted Arthur Williams on charges of first- and second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Mosby said the first-degree assault charge “fits this alleged crime” and requires proof that Williams “intended to cause serious physical injury in the commission of the assault.”
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said Tuesday night that Williams had turned himself in and had been taken to Central Booking for processing.
Williams, who resigned from the force over the weekend, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. It’s unclear whether he has hired an attorney.
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the union representing rank-and-file officers, did not respond to requests for comment after the indictment.
A widely circulated video showed Williams repeatedly striking 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier with his fists and knee and taking him to the ground in front of an East Baltimore rowhouse on Saturday. McGrier does not fight back in the recording and is bleeding on the ground when Williams is on top of him.
McGrier, a warehouse worker at Dietz & Watson, suffered a fractured jaw and ribs, swelling around his eye and ringing in his ears, according to his lawyer, Warren Brown, who is seeking restitution payments from the city for his client.
Brown said Tuesday that the indictment was unsurprising and appropriate.
“I applaud Marilyn Mosby for doing the right thing,” he said.
Mosby said no charges had been filed against a second officer at the scene who briefly grabs McGrier’s arm in the video before backing away from the beating.
“Our preliminary assessment of the available evidence has been that, in light of his responsibilities at the scene, there are no criminal charges that are appropriate,” Mosby said of the second officer, who has not been identified.
Sandra Almond-Cooper, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, told The Sun she was glad the first officer had been charged, but said the second officer “should’ve done something.”
“He should've stopped him before it was so bad,” said Almond-Cooper, who has called for the second officer to be fired and criminally charged. He has been placed on administrative duties.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said she was glad Mosby had taken “this important first step” toward accountability.
“Baltimore residents need reassurance that the law applies to everyone — including police officers who violate their oath of office and the community’s trust in this way,” Ifill said.
Mosby said prosecutors reviewed and presented the grand jury with “a great deal more evidence” than just the viral video. Interim police Commissioner Gary Tuggle had said he reviewed two separate police body-camera videos, which he described as “relatively consistent” with the public video.
Mosby declined to give her personal opinion on the video or case, but she said that “it's one we take seriously, which is why we presented these charges in front of a grand jury, and ultimately those charges were returned."
She added: “The evidence in this case was both apparent and available.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh said the announcement was expected.
“I think the state's attorney is doing what the state's attorney does,” she said.
Tuggle this week called the beating “disturbing.”
He said the officers encountered McGrier shortly after 11:45 a.m. on Saturday near the 2500 block of East Monument Street on the edge of the Milton-Montford and Madison-Eastend neighborhoods.
The officers stopped McGrier, let him go, and then approached him to give him a citizens contact sheet, Tuggle said in a statement.
“When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated when he refused,” Tuggle said.
After Williams struck McGrier and took him to the ground, McGrier was taken into custody, Tuggle said. He was given medical treatment and released without charges.
Tuggle has said no complaints were filed following the June altercation, but that the department is reviewing the incident.
The commissioner said officers are trained not to allow their emotions to affect their actions, and that the officer should not have allowed the June incident to influence his encounter with McGrier on Saturday.