Baltimore police have charged with assault the officer who was caught on a viral video brutally beating an unarmed man.
The attacking officer was identified as Arthur Williams. He is a recent police academy graduate who received several top awards in his class. A grand jury wasted no time in bringing criminal charges against him after video of this incident, which happened on Saturday, August 11, surfaced online.
The state’s attorney said they’re basing their charges on a “great deal of evidence” in addition to just the viral video. The victim, 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier, was taken into custody but eventually released without being charged with anything.
According to his attorney, he sustained a fractured jaw, two fractured ribs and injuries to his eye socket, nose, ribs, and left leg. Officer Williams has been charged with misconduct in office, and one count each of first-degree assault and second-degree assault.
According to the Baltimore Police Department, Officer Williams resigned from the force the day after the incident. There’s even evidence that McGrier was targeted by Williams, perhaps stemming from a prior incident. According to McGrier’s attorney, Officer Williams spotted McGrier walking down the street, and got out of his vehicle, ordering him to stop for no reason.
A statement for Baltimore PD lists no reason for Williams to have stopped McGrier. All it says is that McGrier was asked for his ID, and he refused to give it. This is where the history between the two men may come into play.
Another video has surfaced from June 26, purportedly showing Officer Williams detaining McGrier, also for an unknown reason.
In that instance, McGrier was arrested and released from jail two days later. The second officer in the August 11 incident can be seen trying to separate the two men, though it honestly kind of looks like he doesn’t know what to do.
That officer has been placed on administrative duty, pending the investigation. Witnesses that day are also convinced that there was no reason for Williams to stop McGrier or become violent with him. This all comes in the wake of a federal consent decree which seeks to institute reforms in the Baltimore Police Department.
In 2015, 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody for allegedly possessing an illegal knife. There were mass protests in Baltimore against police brutality. Ultimately, no officers were convicted of a crime in connection with Gray’s death.
The incident between Officer Williams and McGrier has re-energized a discussion in Baltimore about what can be done to prevent police violence. Issues of racial disparity are also at the forefront considering that both Williams and McGrier are black.
Kwame Rose tweeted: “What’s crazy about this police video is that I went to middle school with Arthur Williams, the police officer seen in the video. Obviously, hiring Black police officers isn’t the solvency. It’s changing the culture of policing.”, and many residents worry the incident could further hinder relations between the police and the community.
What do you guys think? How can the culture of policing change when it’s so deeply embedded in our system? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.