A video circulating on social media captured a Baltimore Police sergeant being kicked by onlookers as he struggled to restrain a male on the ground Friday night.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement that just before midnight, a sergeant was doing a business check on Pennsylvania Avenue when a person in the business became argumentative with the sergeant and spit in his face.
A video that appears to capture the aftermath shows the officer straddling a male, attempting to arrest him, as a group of bystanders surround the officer, some of whom then kick the officer. Another person in the crowd can be seen attempting to pull the male away from the officer, dragging the male as the officer continues to restrain him.
A statement from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office said police arrested one person and police are attempting to identify the onlookers who kicked the officer.
“We have a simple message for everyone involved. Do yourselves a favor and surrender. That type of behavior will not be tolerated and each person arrested will be held accountable,” Young’s statement said.
In a tweet, council President Brandon Scott called the behavior in the video “unacceptable.”
“Interfering with an arresting officer is a line that should not be crossed,” he said.
Harrison said investigators are working to identify people involved in the incident and plan to bring charges against them. Such behavior, he said, “will not be tolerated. I am outraged, as any resident of Baltimore should be, by this incident. We can not, and will not, allow any member of the public, or one of our officers, to be assaulted.”
Harrison said Saturday that he believes the officer acted appropriately.
“Based on our preliminary review of the incident, the sergeant did nothing to provoke the assault, and the sergeant should be commended for using the appropriate amount of force to apprehend his assailant,” he said.
Sgt. Mike Mancuso, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said the sergeant “is a little banged up and recovering.”
Young said the video “is a reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face on the job.”
Mancuso said the video exemplifies broader issues facing officers on the job, including what he called restrictive polices by a federal consent decree and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office’s “activist” agenda. Mosby’s office has had a tense relationship with the union since her office charged six officers in 2015 after the arrest and death of West Baltimore resident Freddie Gray. His death later sparked days of protest and a night of rioting.
Two years after his death and a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights investigation, the city entered into a consent decree that requires the department to implement widespread policing reforms.
The video is “A perfect example where the consent decree and overbearing policies and an activist state’s attorney has gotten law enforcement in Baltimore,” Mancuso said.
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