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.
Saturday was not the first altercation between Williams and McGrier.
Brown said their feud began months ago when McGrier encouraged children who he said were harassed by Williams to alert their parents to the officer’s behavior.
Then, in June, Williams tried to cite a woman for smoking marijuana when McGrier grabbed her hand-rolled cigar and tried to run away, Williams wrote in charging documents.
Williams wrote that McGrier “took a fighting stance” and the men ended up tussling on the ground. Williams said McGrier tried to hit him and incite the crowd to attack him.
“Mr. McGrier stated several times that he would kill this officer once he was released from prison,” Williams wrote.
Brown said Williams’ account of the incident was “totally inaccurate” and said he expected McGrier to be cleared of the June charges, which include assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
Mosby declined to describe what evidence her office had presented to the grand jury, but said Williams’ previous behavior “will be relevant at trial.”
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.