This past Friday night a Baltimore Police sergeant was conducting a routine check on a local business when a suspect allegedly became irate and spat in the officer’s face. A struggle ensued after the officer attempted to arrest the suspect, and both men ended up wresting on the sidewalk. The incident attracted a crowd of bystanders, and at least three of those bystanders were seen on cell phone video kicking the officer during the struggle. On Monday, law enforcement reported that two men and one male juvenile have been arrested for their actions toward the police sergeant. The two male defendants are both under the age of 24, with one hailing from Dundalk, and the other from Windsor Mill. No identifying information about the juvenile has been released, except that he is 17. The two men have been charged with assault on a police officer, which is a felony under Maryland law. Assault on a police officer, firefighter or any other first responder carries the same 10-year maximum penalty as 2nd degree misdemeanor assault, but scores higher on the sentencing guidelines. The two men were also charged with interfering arrest, which is a 3-year misdemeanor. Interfering arrest is the listed under the same statue as resisting arrest, and both carry the same penalties.
The blog will continue to follow the prosecutions of the two men who were charged in the highly publicized case. Both the mayor of Baltimore and the Maryland governor have already weighed in, calling the incident disgusting and appalling. This means there will be increased pressure on the State’s Attorney’s Office to assure both men are punished. The police officer did not appear to suffer any serious injuries from the assault, as the majority of kicks were focused on the officer’s buttocks. Still, the case will be under a microscope and the chances are high that the men will not be treated the same as defendants in a non-publicized case. The hope is always that the judge who presides over the case will not bow to any outside pressures and judge the case entirely on the facts presented at trial or sentencing.
In addition to the incident and the subsequent arrests three days later, the other headline surrounding the video recorded melee was the public sparring between the police union and the mayor of Baltimore. The police union released a statement basically calling out the city’s leadership for its inability to establish any type of plan or direction to reduce the rising crime rate. The union’s press release argued that the public will continue to disrespect city police and the crime rate will not go down until new leadership is elected. In no uncertain terms the powerful police union basically said the current administration is unfit to serve the city’s needs. The mayor’s office responded that the union leadership should spend more time out on the streets of Baltimore, which is not really a logical response. The mayor’s office would be better served avoiding public bickering and focusing instead on making Baltimore a better and safer city.