Baltimore, MD – A Baltimore police officer has resigned from his position after cell phone footage that showed him in a physical altercation with an argumentative man went viral (video below).
The incident occurred at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, when two Baltimore police officers encountered 26-year-old DeShawn McGrier on an east Baltimore sidewalk, The Washington Post reported.
McGrier’s attorney, Warren Brown, identified one of the officers as Officer Arthur Williams, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Officer Williams was familiar with McGrier due to an incident in June that resulted in McGrier being charged with resisting arrest, assaulting an officer, obstructing and hindering, and disorderly conduct, Brown said.
According to police, the most recent incident began after Officer Williams and his unnamed partner stopped McGrier, allowed him to leave, then walked up to him again to provide him with a citizen contact form.
“When he was asked for his identification, the situation escalated when he refused,” the department said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “The police officer then struck the man several times.”
Cellphone footage of the incident began after Officer Williams and McGrier were already in a heated verbal altercation, and did not show the events that precipitated their argument.
“For what?” McGrier angrily screamed at the start of the video, as he stood just inches from the officer’s face.
Officer Williams then pushed McGrier away from him, backing him into a barred window behind McGrier.
“Don’t touch me!” McGrier yelled, as the second officer and a witness partially blocked the beginning of the physical altercation from the camera’s view.
Officer Williams then began delivering several strikes, punching McGrier repeatedly, the video showed.
Officer Williams’ partner appeared to be unsure of what was going on and tried to assist in taking control of McGrier with minimal force.
The pair ultimately fell to the ground on a nearby set of stairs, at which point Officer Williams held McGrier to the ground.
“Let go of my radio,” the officer commanded, as the video ended.
Baltimore Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle immediately suspended Officer Williams and the unnamed second officer in the wake of the incident, and ordered an internal investigation, The Washington Post reported.
“While I have an expectation that officers are out of their cars, on foot, and engaging with citizens, I expect that it will be done professionally and constitutionally,” Commissioner Tuggle said on Saturday. “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.”
On Sunday night, the department issued a statement confirming that the officer had resigned his position.
“The officer involved in yesterday’s incident is no longer with the BPD. Interim Commissioner Tuggle has accepted his resignation. The second officer remains on administrative duties. This remains an active criminal investigation,” the agency said in a tweet.
Brown alleged that the altercation was a “follow up” to McGrier’s earlier arrest, and said Officer Williams assaulted his client “for no justifiable reason,” The Washington Post reported.
“What went on out there yesterday was not professional – it’s personal,” Brown asserted. “This is not police work. This is one guy beating up another guy.”
McGrier has not been charged in relation to the incident. He remains hospitalized with fractures to his ribs, nose, and jaw, according to his attorney.
Baltimore police union president Lieutenant Gene Ryan said that there may be more details regarding the incident that he does not yet know, but that “at first view,” the video showed “inexcusable behavior” that the Baltimore Police Department “can’t tolerate,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
“I’d like to believe that there is more to it, but obviously, it really makes us look bad,” Lt. Ryan said. “That’s something we don’t need right now. We don’t need another black eye.”
Officer Williams graduated from the Baltimore Police academy in April, and had been with the department since 2017, The Baltimore Sun reported.
You can watch the viral cell phone footage of the incident in the video below: