A grand jury indicted Arthur Williams, the former Baltimore police officer seen repeatedly punching a man in the head in a video that went viral last weekend, on counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault and misconduct in office, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced today.
A warrant for Williams’ arrest has been issued, she said, and he is not yet in custody. After the video spread across social media and landed in various media outlets, Williams resigned from the Baltimore Police Department on Sunday evening.
No charges were filed against Williams’ partner, who is seen the video making a meek attempt to subdue Williams.
“In light of his responsibilities at the scene, there are no criminal charges that are appropriate,” said Mosby.
Because the investigation is still ongoing, Mosby did not offer comment on the case or the video.
“We considered all evidence, we worked with the police department and again, we considered additional evidence when presenting that before the grand jury,” Mosby said when asked about the footage from the officers’ body-worn cameras.
In a statement put out after the press conference announcing the charges, Mosby said: “It is important that the community knows there is one standard of justice, no matter your sex, race religion, or occupation. Police Officers are sworn to protect and serve and when that oath is taken for granted and an abuse of that power is evident, we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This is an integral part to rebuilding trust in our criminal justice system.”
The video of the incident spread quickly on Saturday, shortly after it occurred in East Baltimore. In the footage, the victim, identified as Dashawn McGrier by his attorney, Warren Brown, has his back toward a storefront when he tells Williams, “Then touch me…” The video shows the officer swinging before McGrier could finish his sentence. McGrier received repeated blows to the head and was taken down on a set of rowhouse steps by the officer.
At a press conference yesterday, Acting Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he found the video “extremely disturbing.”
During his remarks, he suggested the department may look into changing how it trains officers, adding in more scenario-based exercises to supplement written work.
Brown told multiple media outlets of a past encounter between Williams and McGrier, on June 26, that resulted in charges of second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for his client.
Even with that kind of personal history, Tuggle said Monday that officers cannot get too emotional, particularly when engaging with citizens.
“If we get to the point where we start to go outside those lines, there really needs to be some intervention, either peer-to-peer or supervisor-to-officer,” he said. “And it’s incumbent upon those first- and second-line supervisory levels to monitor their subordinates to ensure that they’re not operating outside the line.”