Brennan Walker didn’t make the morning bus to school. He didn’t have his phone. And he wasn’t sure how to get to his high school.
Brennan needed help finding his way, and the home of Jeffrey Zeigler appeared to be just as good as any to seek neighborly guidance.
Zeigler answered with a shotgun blast.
Jurors on Tuesday watched video of the incident during Zeigler’s trial, which showed how close Brennan, then 14, may have come to a violent death on April 12 in Rochester Hills, Mich. On Friday, that jury found Zieger guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, according to the Detroit Metro Times. Ziegler is due back in court Nov. 13 for sentencing, and could face up to 12 years of prison time.
Zeigler, a retired firefighter, had been charged with assault with intent to murder, which could have led to life in prison, Oakland County District Attorney Jessica R. Cooper told The Washington Post on Thursday.
A camera that appears to be on Zeigler’s porch captured the teenager, who is black, approaching the house wearing a backpack. Brennan testified Monday that Zeigler’s wife answered the door and immediately accused him of trying to break into the home, the Oakland Press News reported.
“I was scared. I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren’t listening,” Brennan testified.
Zeigler’s wife yelled, and Zeigler sprang out of bed, armed himself with a shotgun and ran out to the porch. Brennan, upon seeing the commotion, turned and ran from the house, the video shows.
Brennan was nearly out of the yard when Zeigler appeared, shirtless. He shouldered his shotgun and leveled the barrel in the teenager’s direction.
He fired a single shot, the video shows. Brennan was not injured.
Cooper declined further comment, citing the trial this week.
Zeigler’s attorney, Rob Morad, has said that race was not a factor in the shooting (Zeigler is white), and that his client and his wife were on “high alert” after five previous break-ins at their home. Zeigler “acted from passion instead of judgment,” Morad told jurors. He did not return a request for comment Thursday.
Zeigler has also claimed that he accidentally fired the shotgun after slipping. The video shows Zeigler pausing for a few beats before firing the gun. Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Marshall testified he could not say definitively where Zeigler was aiming after reviewing the video, the Press News reported.
Shawn Pace, a detective with the sheriff’s office, testified Tuesday that he had been investigating the claims of a break-in and then watched the video. “I was shocked,” Pace said, according to the Press News. He watched it again, then became “charged up, because I was offended by what I had seen.”
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said soon after the incident: “It is just absurd that this happened. I feel terrible for the young man; I feel terrible for the mom and the anxiety that they had to go through.”
Brennan’s mother, Lisa Wright, said in April that she believed the reaction in the Zeigler household was racially motivated. She watched the video soon after the incident. “You can hear the wife say, ‘Why did these people choose my house?’ Who are ‘these people?’ ” Wright said. “And that set me off. I didn’t want to believe it was what it appeared to look like. When I heard her say that, it was, like, but it is.”
Zeigler maintained that he believed Brennan was a threat. But Pace showed him the video and asked him to point out where the teenager had shown bad intentions.
Zeigler “took a big drink of water, he looked at me, and he said, ‘I’m tired of being a victim,’ ” Pace testified.
The white Chicago police officer who shot to death a black teenager in 2014 told jurors at his murder trial on Tuesday that he felt threatened when he opened fire, as he took the witness stand in his own defense.
Jason Van Dyke, 40, is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times and faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct in a case that has focused attention on race relations and policing in the third-largest U.S. city.
He is the first Chicago police officer to face a murder charge for an on-duty incident in decades. His decision to testify was not revealed until he took the stand.
Wiping tears away at times, Van Dyke testified that McDonald “never stopped” advancing toward him, getting about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) away.
“His face had no expression,” Van Dyke said under questioning from his lawyer. “His eyes were buggin’ out.”
McDonald waved his knife and was still holding the knife when he fell to the ground, Van Dyke testified, adding that he shot at the knife. Van Dyke said he did not know how many shots he fired at the time and stopped shooting when McDonald fell and when his gun was empty.
“I’m yelling at him, ‘Drop that knife,’” Van Dyke said. “I just wanted him to get rid of that knife.”
Prosecutors have said Van Dyke was not justified in shooting McDonald. Jurors have repeatedly viewed a video of the incident, which prosecutors have argued shows that McDonald was not moving toward Van Dyke at the time he began firing.
The public release of the dashboard camera video, which came after a journalist filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, sparked days of protests in Chicago.
Under cross-examination by a prosecutor, Van Dyke said that video and an animated video of the shooting played for the jury do not show what occurred from his point of view.
“It’s not my perspective,” Van Dyke said.
The prosecution grilled Van Dyke on his actions in the moments before the shooting, and noted that the officer continued to shoot after McDonald fell to the ground.
“I shot at that knife,” Van Dyke said. “My focus was just on that knife and I just wanted him to get rid of that knife. That’s all I could think.”
“Cause to me it seemed like he was getting back up and he was in the fight,” Van Dyke said later.
Van Dyke’s lawyers have portrayed McDonald as an unruly, threatening criminal who was under the influence of a drug.
Van Dyke also told jurors he had drawn his gun several times in his career, but had never fired it in the line of duty before the Oct. 20, 2014 incident. “I’m very proud of that,” he said.
The trial, now in its third week, will continue on Wednesday. The 12-person jury includes one black member.
The trial of white Chicago policeman Jason Van Dyke, accused of murder in the 2014 shooting of a black teen, was scheduled to begin on Monday in a decisive case for race relations and policing in the third-largest U.S. city.
A family is grieving Sunday over the loss of a loved one they say was at the hands of Chicago Police officers. The medical examiner’s report, however, provides an entirely different account. CBS Chicago reports the family of Steven Rosenthal, 15, says there is no way he would take his own life, but police say ballistics and camera evidence shows that officers did not fire their weapons.
Friday night, police tried questioning Rosenthal because they believed he was armed. He allegedly ran from officers and pulled the gun on himself on the back stairwell of his home in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood.
The Cook County Medical Examiner, who works independent from police, ruled Rosenthal’s death a suicide based on an autopsy and physical evidence.
Family and friends of Steven Rosenthal marched Sunday to Sinai Hospital demanding to see his body. They ended the march at Chicago Police Department’s 10th District, where there were calls for police body camera footage to be released.
A Colorado man accused of killing his pregnant wife and two children is expected to be charged on Monday. Friends and family gathered at a vigil outside the family’s home.
Italy rescuers search for survivors after motorway collapse kills dozens
Helicopter footage on social media showed trucks and cars stranded on either side of the 80-meter long collapsed section of the Morandi Bridge near Genoa.
At least 35 probably died, Italy’s ANSA news agency said citing fire brigade sources, while the official body count remained at about 20.
A 50-meter high section of the bridge, including a tower that anchored several supports, crashed down with as many as 35 vehicles driving on it.
Rescuers at work amid the rubble after a highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, 14 August 2018. A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa on Tuesday.
Major earthquakes strike near Fiji and in Indonesia’s Lombok island
Earthquakes struck near two popular vacation destinations Sunday, one rattling the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga, and another striking Indonesia’s Lombok.
Lombok earthquake death toll surges above 400
The quake roughly 200 miles off both Fiji and Tonga measured a massive 8.2-magnitude but was hundreds of miles deep.
Report: More than 300 priests sexually abused kids
A new grand jury report says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 “predator priests” have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.
Nashville police are warning local residents to be on guard as the search for two suspected killers intensifies. Other shootings in the same area of East Nashville over the past week have shaken the community. Officials are trying to determine if the crimes are connected.
“These are two just senseless, cold-blooded homicides,” said Don Aaron, public affairs manager of the Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville & Davidson County.
The latest in a string of random and possibly-connected shootings led Nashville police to make an unsettling warning to residents: Stay in groups, and be careful.
Police body camera and cruiser cameras show a July 15 traffic stop, which a local activist group claims is evidence of racially biased policing. Wochit
The Des Moines Police Department is investigating a July traffic stop after an activist group published police recordings of the incident and claimed that they showed evidence of racially biased policing.
The activist group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, is pointing the finger at Des Moines Senior Police Officer Kyle Thies, who pulled over two black men on July 15 after they drove out of Union Park on the north side of the city.
On Wednesday, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement released multiple videos of the police stop, including two takes from body camera footage and two from inside the police cruiser. CCI leaders say the traffic stop is just the latest suspect incident involving Thies and minorities; the group has previously filed two complaints with the police department’s office of professional standards for similar reasons.
In the video, Thies is shown repeatedly asking the two men if they were carrying weapons. He claims to smell marijuana in the car and to spot marijuana residue on the car’s floor. It’s unclear from the video what prompted the stop.
Thies tells the pair that he believes the passenger is carrying a weapon because he is “acting funny.”
“Your buddy’s giving me the idea that maybe he’s got a gun, you know what I mean,” the officer says. “That’s what I think.”
“How?” the passenger asks.
“Just the way you’re holding yourself, man. That’s why we’re nervous, man. That’s it,” he said. “If you’re scared because you got a little bit of weed, that’ll be one thing.”
The officers removed both men from the car.
“You’re making me think something funny’s going on,” Thies says on the video as he pats down the driver, Montray Little, a 23-year-old from Des Moines.
After searching the car, the officers apparently found no drugs or weapons. But Thies continued to interrogate Little while he sat in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs.
At one point, the officer pushes the man to admit he was smoking marijuana or was around others who were smoking. He threatens to write a citation if the man won’t confess. But Little maintains that he was only smoking cigarettes.
Even after releasing both men, Thies seemed to suspect some foul play.
“I feel like I was missing something,” he said on the video after he re-enters the police cruiser.
Des Moines police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek said he had not reviewed the videos as of Wednesday evening. But the department will consider their public release as a complaint and begin an investigation, he said.
“We’re definitely going to look into it,” he said. “And there will be an administrative review.”
Neither officer is currently facing any discipline from the incident.
Both Little and his passenger, Jared Clinton, 21, of Des Moines, declined to comment. But Clinton’s mother spoke out, saying that the incident fit a pattern of racially biased policing.
“I’m horrified. I’ve been saying this for years that our kids are barely making it out of routine traffic stops,” Laural Clinton said. “We’ve been lulled into some kind of security, thinking that, ‘Oh, at least you didn’t get killed or go to jail,’ as some prize for being harassed.”
She said her oldest son was harassed by a police officer in downtown Des Moines just eight days before the recorded incident. He was smoking a cigarette outside a bar he was patronizing as police claimed he fit the description of a wanted suspect, she said.
And her 21-year-old has been hassled by police before, she said.
“He cut his dreadlocks off because he can’t walk outside the house without the police stopping him,” Clinton said.
She said she continually talks to her three sons about how to interact with police. Keep your hands visible, she tells them. Comply as much as you possibly can.
“Don’t smoke in your car, keep your music low, wear your seat belt,” Clinton implores them. “I’ve had all those conversations.”
But she couldn’t fault her son, who sat still with his hands visible during the traffic stop.
“I couldn’t be more impressed in how both of them conducted themselves,” she said. “It should be a how-to video — and a how-not-to video for the police.”
Clinton said she wants the public to know that the black community faces these sorts of incidents routinely.
“This stuff goes unnoticed,” she said, “and there are no consequences.”
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn, an organizer with Iowa CCI, said the community deserves better from its police force — particularly from Thies.
“He has a history and a pattern,” she said.
The last two complaints CCI made against him were determined to be “unfounded,” Fagan-Reidburn said.
CCI on Wednesday released several data sets that the group claims shows evidence of racially biased policing. One data set purported to show that the officer in question has a history of targeting young black men and that, in fact, 100 percent of the people he arrested in 2017 were black.
On Thursday, CCI released a statement revising the initial claim about the data on Thies’ bookings. Parizek said police inspected the same data CCI had looked at and found that Thies was responsible for 253 arrests, with 127 arrestees being black — about 50 percent.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 11 percent of Des Moines residents identify as black or African American. Another 3.4 percent identify as belonging to “two or more races.”
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn, community organizer with Iowa CCI said, “We, unfortunately, had this piece of the data wrong. But unlike the DMPD, we can admit our mistake and take responsibility. The updated data for Thies’ booking history still tells the same story. In our opinion, he has a clear pattern of targeting young black males, and it has to stop.”
After releasing the footage, Iowa CCI launched a petition calling for the Des Moines Police Department and the Des Moines City Council to end racial profiling. The petition has been signed by over 550 residents in less than 24 hours.
After the videos became public, police received an influx of comments and questions on social media regarding the behavior employed during the traffic stop, Parizek said, adding that they cannot reply to every post about the incident.
“We expect our officers to be tactful and tactical,” Parizek said. “If we aren’t tactful, we may offend someone, leave a bad impression and appear unprofessional. If we aren’t tactical, we may die. A lack of tact can be corrected with one of, or combination of, training, re-instruction and, possibly, discipline. A tactical failure could become irreversible. Ideally, we work to find the balance of the two so that we can be safe, as well as respectful.
“Every aspect of this encounter will be evaluated during the administrative review.”
Thies made $36.22 an hour as of 2017, a little over $75,000 annually before overtime, according to city records.
In the broader picture, racial disparities in policing in Iowa have been the subject of contention in recent years.
In 2016, a report released by the ACLU/Human Rights Watch indicated that black Iowans were seven times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white Iowans even though studies show that the two groups use illicit drugs at the same rate. That disparity was the second-worst in the nation.
Earlier that year, legislation intended to study and combat profiling by law enforcement failed to advance at the Statehouse.
A Des Moines Register investigation in 2015 included interviews with black Iowans who almost universally said that they believed police singled out minorities for questioning.
The man charged with manslaughter after shooting another man in a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store parking lot has a history of threatening drivers, according to documents from the Pinellas County Circuit Court.
Michael Drejka, 47, fatally shot Markeis McGlockton in July after McGlockton shoved him to the ground during a dispute over a handicapped-accessible spot. Drejka claimed he feared for his life and said he fired in self-defense. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri previously said Florida’s “stand your ground” laws prevented him from arresting Drejka
Michael Drejka has been charged with manslaughter.
Drejka was ultimately charged and will make his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. CNN has tried contacting Drejka multiple times, but has not heard back and it was not clear whether he has an attorney.
A truck driver parked in a handicapped-accessible spot
About three months ago, Richard Kelly told a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detective he was confronted by Drejka at Circle A Food Store, the same store where he shot McGlockton. Drejka, documents said, was upset because Kelly parked in a handicapped-accessible spot. The exchange between the two became very loud and Kelly said at some point during the argument Drejka told him he was going to shoot him, documents said
Prosecutor overrules sheriff, charges Florida man in ‘stand your ground’ case
Drejka then went to his car and was rummaging around the center console, but documents said Kelly drove away. Drejka, Kelly said, also threw racial slurs at him. Kelly is black and Drejka is white
Court documents said Drejka wanted to voice his complaint to Kelly’s employer, AA Cut-Rate Septic Tank Service, so he spoke to the owner, John Tyler. Drejka told the business owner he was lucky he didn’t blow his employee’s head off, documents said.
A woman drove too slow through a school zone
On December 12, 2012, a woman told a Largo Police Department officer that a man driving a black Toyota truck, later identified as Drejka, pointed a gun at her and the passengers in the vehicle.The woman pointed out the truck to the officer. The officer spoke with Drejka, documents said, and he told the officer the woman was driving too slow through a school zone.Drejka denied pointing a gun at the occupants of the car, documents said, but he did have a gun in his vehicle. Drejka told the officer, according to police reports, that he honked at the people in the other car, and the people in that car made rude hand gestures at him.
A teen didn’t drive through a yellow light
On January 10, 2012, Tyler Smith, 18, was driving with a friend when a traffic light turned yellow. Smith decided not to drive through the light and stopped his vehicle.
A truck, driven by Drejka, was behind Smith. Drejka honked his horn, documents said, and yelled at Smith. Drejka held a black handgun out the driver’s side window of his vehicle and motioned for Smith to walk back to his truck, documents said. Drejka then followed the teen’s vehicle, passed it and slammed on his brakes, according to police reports
The teen did not press charges, documents said.
When officers confronted Drejka about the incident, he said the teen’s car cut him off, the police report said. He said he neither followed the teen’s car nor did he show his gun, but did admit to having one in his vehicle.
A Florida man was charged with manslaughter on Monday for fatally shooting another man during an argument over a parking spot, after police initially declined to arrest him due to the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law, officials said.
Alleged shooter Michael Drejka, 47, was taken into custody on Monday, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Police had initially not charged Drejka over the July 19 shooting due to the 2005 law, which grants residents the right to use deadly force if they reasonably believe they are at risk of great harm or death.
A wild dashcam video released by Pennsylvania State Police shows a run-of-the-mill highway stop devolve into a roadside brawl that turns into a near-fatal shooting.
The video starts with a mundane field sobriety test given to driver, Daniel Clary, 22, after he was stopped for speeding, but by the end of the recording one of the officers, Cpl. Seth Kelly, lay bleeding in a ditch with severed femoral artery, according to the Allentown Morning Call.
Clary was shot in the head and hand during the gunplay. He was arrested after driving himself to the hospital for treatment. A second officer, trooper Ryan Seiple, who tried to help with the arrest, was not hit in the shooting.
Kelly arrived at the hospital clinically dead, but was revived. Doctors gave the officer 66 pints of blood and was eventually able to revive him. After nearly a month in the hospital, he was well enough to leave, but he doesn’t remember anything about the traffic stop.
Clary, who has a history of mental issues, was charged with the attempted murder of two state troopers and convicted on June 29.
The video shows the officer tell Clary that he’s under arrest after he fails the sobriety test along Route 33 in Plainfield, Penn on Nov. 7, 2017. As the officers go to handcuff him, Clary begins to resist. He breaks free momentarily and Kelly hits him with a stun gun, causing the suspect to go stiff and fall into the roadway.
The two troopers drag him back to the shouldering and continue to struggle with him, punching him and continuing to shock him with the stun gun.
They are unable to cuff him as he struggles and he breaks free again, running around the car to the driverside window where he reaches in and pulls out a handgun. He fires at the officers, striking Kelly four times. The trooper went down as he returns fire.
The wounded trooper manages to hurl himself over the guardrail, out of the line of fire. Trooper Seiple continues to fire as Clary gets into the car and drives away.
Clary later tested positive for marijuana.
Northhampton County First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck released the video after asking Kelly and Seiple for their permission.
“We think the community should see it,” Houck he told the news service.
Baltimore police officer was suspended with pay by the department Saturday after a viral video emerged showing him repeatedly punching a man in the face before taking him to the ground.
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he was “deeply disturbed” by the video, and that the incident is under investigation.
“The officer involved has been suspended while we investigate the totality of this incident,” Tuggle said. “Part of our investigation will be reviewing body worn camera footage.”
Police said a second officer on the scene at the time of the incident was placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
Attorney Warren Brown, who is representing the man who was punched, identified his client as Dashawn McGrier, 26. Brown said McGrier was not being charged with a crime, but was taken to a hospital and was having X-rays taken of his jaw, nose and ribs late Saturday for suspected fractures from the altercation.
Brown said McGrier had a previous run-in with the same police officer — whom he identified as Officer Arthur Williams — in June that resulted in McGrier being charged with assaulting the officer, disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering, and resisting arrest. Brown said that in that incident and in the one Saturday, McGrier was targeted without justification by the officer.
“It seems like this officer had just decided that Dashawn was going to be his punching bag,” Brown said. “And this was a brutal attack that was degrading and demeaning to my client, to that community, and to the police department.”
Williams could not be reached for comment.
Tuggle did not identify the officer or the man who was punched, but the department said the officer has been on the force for just over a year.
At Williams’ graduation from the police academy last year, he received awards for top performance, including for high marks in “defense tactics, physical training and emergency vehicle operations,” for his “academic achievement, professional attitude, appearance, ability to supervise,” and for his “tireless and unwavering dedication” and “outstanding leadership ability,” according to a video of the graduation ceremony.
The police department said the incident Saturday began after two officers stopped McGrier, let him go, then approached him again to give him a citizen contact sheet.
“When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated when he refused,” the department said. “The police officer then struck the man several times.”
Brown said McGrier was sitting on steps when Williams passed by in his vehicle, then moments later was walking down the street when the officer, now on foot, told him to stop without giving him a reason.
“My client was saying, ‘What is this all about? You don’t even have probable cause,’ ” Brown said. That’s when Williams began shoving McGrier, Brown said.
Tuggle asked anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the Office of Professional Responsibility at 410-396-2300.
“While I have an expectation that officers are out of their cars, on foot, and engaging citizens, I expect that it will be done professionally and constitutionally,” he said. “I have zero tolerance for behavior like I witnessed on the video today. Officers have a responsibility and duty to control their emotions in the most stressful of situations.”
The incident occurred Saturday outside Q’s Bar and Liquors in the 2600 block of E. Monument St. in East Baltimore.
The video shows the officer pushing McGrier against a wall, with his hand on McGrier’s chest, and then McGrier pushing the officer’s hand off his chest. It is then that the officer starts swinging.
The officer throws repeated punches, shoves McGrier onto rowhouse steps and continues beating him until McGrier lands on the pavement. McGrier appears to be bleeding when he gets to the ground.
McGrier appears to try to deflect some of the officer’s punches but does not punch back.
A second officer, who the department did not identify, briefly places his hand on McGrier’s arm as McGrier tries to avoid the blows but does not appear to try to stop the first officer from throwing punches.
Shantel Allen, 28, who said she grew up with McGrier and considers him like a brother, called the escalation of the encounter by Williams shocking.
“I was speechless. I was enraged. I was hurt. I was shocked more than anything. That is really something you don’t expect,” she said. “I truly feel as though this officer needs to be dealt with in a very serious manner, so none of his fellow officers or anyone else in the criminal justice system feels like they can use this kind of force.
“This is a crime. You can’t just go around putting your hands on people,” she said.
Brown said Internal Affairs officers were at the hospital to speak with McGrier. Brown said he also had spoken with the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Mosby’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The police department said Mosby’s office “provided information related to this case,” but did not explain what that meant.
Several men on Monument Street at the time — who asked not to be named, for fear of reprisal from the police for discussing the matter — said the officer who threw the punches knew McGrier from prior interactions, and that they believed he was targeting him.
They said the officer is young and had previously worked foot patrol along the corridor, but recently began working out of a car.
The men said the officer stopped McGrier on Saturday without good reason, which is why McGrier was talking back to the officer before the officer started throwing punches.
“He knows his rights, and he felt as though his rights were being violated, and he took offense to that,” one man said.
That the officer responded physically was completely out of line, and must result in serious consequences, the men said.
“We want justice. We don’t want things like that to happen. We want him to be held accountable, and not no paid suspension,” one man said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh echoed Tuggle in a statement late Saturday, in which she also called the encounter between the officer and McGrier “disturbing.” She said she was in touch with Tuggle and had “demanded answers and accountability.”
“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,” the mayor said.
City Councilman Brandon Scott said the department did the right thing by suspending the officer. Scott said he spoke with Tuggle after seeing the video, and the commissioner assured him it would be handled appropriately. He said the officer should be fired.
“You see that video and you see what we are trying to prevent in the police department,” said Scott, who is chair of the council’s public safety committee. “It goes against the consent decree and the work we’re trying to do to rebuild trust between the community and the police department.”
The city entered into a federal consent decree in 2017 after the U.S. Justice Department found officers routinely violated people’s constitutional rights.
The justice department’s investigation began soon after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray following injuries he suffered in police custody. The 2015 incident became a flashpoint in the national conversation about police brutality.
Despite increased oversight, the city’s police department has had numerous scandals in recent months, including allegations of police misconduct.
Police said late last month that they were reviewing a different piece of viral civilian footage depicting a tense interaction with officers. The video shows a young boy being forcefully brought to the ground and handcuffed by an officer.
As the officer puts the boy into a police car, he is recorded saying, “I’m about to send this kid to the [expletive] hospital.”
Jurors recently indicted Officer Carlos Rivera-Martinez on charges of first-degree assault and misconduct in office for an incident that took place July 5, 2016. The officer allegedly beat up a young man, then 16 years old, as the boy was walking downtown on his way to his brother’s house.
Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate for governor and a former head of the NAACP, condemned the officer’s actions in a statement, saying the video “shows just how far community-police relations have fallen in Baltimore, as well as the work that must be done in partnership with city officials to restore trust.”
Jealous said he was “heartened” that the officer was promptly suspended.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote on Twitter that there “must be a swift, immediate, and definitive response” to the officer’s actions from Pugh and the police department. “This is a flagrant violation of the letter & spirit of the consent decree. This is not what reform looks like.”
Ken Thompson, the court-appointed consent decree monitor, said in a statement late Saturday that he had conveyed to Tuggle that the incident “warrants immediate investigation,” and that his monitoring team will be “watching closely in the coming days” to see how the police department conducts that work.
“This is an important moment for the Baltimore Police Department,” Thompson said. “It is an opportunity for the Department to show the Monitoring team, the Court, and the community that when its officers are involved in an incident that raises serious questions about compliance with Department policies regarding the use of force (not to mention the U.S. Constitution) it will move swiftly to conduct a thorough, transparent, and fair investigation.”
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the union that represents rank-and-file officers, also said he believed Tuggle took “the appropriate action” by suspending the officer pending an investigation.
Ryan said there might be more to the story that he doesn’t know, but that “at first view” the video of the incident showed “inexcusable behavior” on the part of the officer that the department “can’t tolerate.”
Ryan said officers are allowed to use force when individuals are resisting arrest, but the man in the video did not appear to be acting in an aggressive manner.
“I’d like to believe that there is more to it, but obviously, it really makes us look bad,” Ryan said. “That’s something we don’t need right now. We don’t need another black eye.”
Brown said he hopes city officials take the matter seriously, because the treatment of his client is unacceptable.
“The animus, the hatred almost that you could see on the officer’s part, the way he just beat this guy down, was startling. It’s such an ugly act that has such a damning impact on the city as a whole, the police department, police-community relations,” Brown said. “It’s not just an attack on my client, it’s an attack on the whole community.”