Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he was “deeply disturbed” by the video and said the incident is under investigation.
“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,” Tuggle told reporters. “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 video shows Officer Arthur Williams push 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier against the wall before delivering a series of punches and knee kicks to McGrier’s head. McGrier doesn’t appear to fight back or resist other than putting his hand in front of his face to avoid more blows. When McGrier falls to the ground, Williams continues the beating.
According to WJZ-TV, the incident started when Williams asked McGrier for identification to fill out a citizens contact sheet, which Baltimore police are assigned to do after any interaction with residents. After McGrier refused to show identification, Williams used physical force.
The Baltimore Sun reported that McGrier had a previous run-in with Williams, who arrested him for assaulting the officer, disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering and resisting arrest back in June.
McGrier’s attorney, Warren Brown, said Williams unjustifiably targeted his client in both incidents.
“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.”
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh called the video “very disturbing” in a statement.
“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,” Pugh said.
Another officer who was on the scene but did not participate in the beating has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.