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Crime

Man gets four years in prison for punching Baltimore officer in viral video

A 21-year-old man shown in a widely-viewed video punching and knocking down a police trainee in Southeast Baltimore last fall pleaded guilty to assault Friday and was sentenced to four years in prison, prosecutors said.

Video of a shirtless James Young punching the officer and being wrestled to the ground on South Broadway was viewed more than a million times on a viral video website last October.

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Young warned the officers that he would "knock you the [expletive] out," and can be seen swinging at Officer Christy Post multiple times, before connecting on a punch and knocking the trainee, Maurice Bagby, to the ground.

The video landed online amid a rollout of a police body camera program, and claims from officers of heightened tensions in citizen encounters. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at the time that the officers showed "remarkable restraint."

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Rochelle Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's Office, said Young pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on a police officer, which is a felony, as well as second-degree assault and a violation of probation. He received four years for each charge, which will run concurrently.

"The State's Attorney's Office will not tolerate heinous and unprovoked acts against police officers, which is why we pursued felony charges in this case," the office said in a statement.

Prosecutors sought five years in prison, but Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill offered Young four years, which he accepted.

jfenton@baltsun.com


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