Police probes of use of force come to light

The circumstances involving Baltimore police investigations into three cases where officers' use of force has been questioned were publicly disclosed for the first time last week.

The Police Department decided last month to publicly disclose all cases involving deadly or serious police force under internal review to improve transparency and public accountability. Seventeen incidents are under review. The incidents not previously known are:

On Jan. 25, Officer William Berardi went to a home in the 300 block of Ballou Court after a woman said she had been attacked by her husband. An arrest warrant and a protective order were issued for her husband, police said, and a struggle ensued a few hours later when Berardi returned to serve the warrant.

Police said Berardi handcuffed the man's hands in front of him and using a second pair of handcuffs attached him "to a fixed object." When Berardi tried to re-handcuff the man's hands behind his back, another struggle ensued. In a statement, police said an officer identified only by his last name, Caracas, used his Taser, "causing the subject to fall backwards striking his head."

The man was taken to a hospital and admitted in critical condition. Police declined to release his identity.

Police say the investigation is active.

On March 26, Detective Sgt. Wayne Jenkins and Officer Benjamin Frieman were driving in the 5600 block of Harford Road when they saw a black Audi that fit the description of a car involved in a crime.

The officers followed the car and believed they saw a drug transaction between the driver and the passenger of a black BMW, police said. The two cars drove away, police said, and the officers followed the Audi.

The driver parked in the 4100 block of Montana Ave. and left the car. Officers pulled alongside the man, who they believed was armed, and "grabbed his mid-section," police said. The suspect ran, with Frieman chasing on foot and Jenkins in the police car, police said.

"Sgt. Jenkins then observed the subject holding a dark colored handgun in his right hand," police said in a statement. "Sgt. Jenkins then used his vehicle to strike the subject."

The man was arrested and a pistol was recovered, police said. The case remains under internal police review.

On April 4, a sergeant identified only by his last name, Maggio, and Detective Michael Gause saw a black Nissan Frontier driving erratically at East Biddle and North Eden streets and followed.

Police said the suspect made a U-turn and fled and the officers lost sight of the Frontier. Minutes later, police said, the truck was spotted heading into an alley of the 1700 block of Darley Ave.

Police said the suspect got out of the truck, then tripped and fell face-first into the bumper of a gray Chevy in front of a home.

"The suspect complained that he could not move," police said, and he was taken to an area hospital. Police declined to release his identity. A final report from the internal review of the incident is pending, police said.



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