Baltimore police officer suspended after 'disturbing' video shows him repeatedly punching citizen

A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Saturday Aug. 11 2018 after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification

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From words to repeated blows, cell phone video captures the officer repeatedly punching a man outside a business on the city's east side before eventually taking him to the ground.

Witnesses say that Williams began shoving McGrier and berating him.

A federal investigation past year found Baltimore law enforcement has patterns of excessive use of force, racial profiling, and unconstitutional policing.

"We are working day and night to bring about a new era of community-based, Constitutional policing and will not be deterred by this or any other instance that threatens our efforts to re-establish the trust of all citizens in the Baltimore Police Department", Pugh said.

City Councilman Brandon Scott said the department did the right thing by suspending the officer and said that he was assured by Tuggle that the incident would be handled properly.

"I'm deeply disturbed by the video that surfaced online", interim Police Commissioner Garry Tuggle said in a statement Saturday. "I have zero tolerance for behavior like I witnessed on the video today". The attorney, Warren Brown, told the Baltimore Sun "It seems like this officer had just decided that Dashawn was going to be his punching bag".

In a news release, police said the man was not criminally charged and has been released from custody.

A spokesman for the police department did not answer questions about the officers performance while in the academy. Only officers charged with felonies can be suspended without pay.

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According to WJZ-TV, the incident started when Williams asked McGrier for identification to fill out a citizens contact sheet, which Baltimore police are assigned to do after any interaction with residents.

The city entered into a federal consent decree in 2017 after the U.S. Justice Department found officers routinely violated people's constitutional rights.

"I'd like to believe that there is more to it, but obviously, it really makes us look bad", Ryan said. Among other measures, the decree calls for restrictions on when and how officers can engage individuals and, in essence, spells out in detail the actions of police that fall within, and outside of, the bounds of the Constitution. Williams and McGrier are in a heated argument and the officer places his hand on McGrier's chest. Of particular relevance to Saturday's incident, the decree provides that, in the event where there is no probable cause, officers can engage in either "voluntary contacts" or "field interviews" with Baltimore residents for the goal of gathering information.

Per state law, officers are placed on paid suspension while an investigation is conducted.

The officer who struck McGrier has been a member of the agency for just over a year. The leader of the taskforce, Wayne Jenkins, admitted in his plea bargain to providing cocaine and marijuana to an associate to resell on the streets and splitting the profits from the sales, netting himself between $200,000 and $250,000.

The tumult comes a few months after former Baltimore police commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned over accusations that he failed to file federal tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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