Baltimore Sun investigates BCPD history of violence

Posted on: Mon, 09/29/2014 - 23:11 By: Tom Swiss

As an institution, the Baltimore City PD is simply not trustworthy.

The BCPD has alienated the inner-city community with meritless arrests, it's alienated the DIY arts community with constant harassment, it's alienated the activist community with illegal arrests. It's failed to enforce even the most basic standards of behavior on its officers, letting a cop who shot a man while drunk keep his position.

Good cops are driven out, mediocre cops are corrupted, until all that's left are the very bad cops who deal out this sort of abuse and the moderately bad cops who let them get away with it, until any citizen encountering an officer has to assume they may be dealing with a violent psychopath with no respect for basic rights until proven otherwise.

I don't think a force this corrupt can be salvaged. Disband it and start fresh.

Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson.

Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.

And in almost every case, prosecutors or judges dismissed the charges against the victims — if charges were filed at all. In an incident that drew headlines recently, charges against a South Baltimore man were dropped after a video showed an officer repeatedly punching him — a beating that led the police commissioner to say he was “shocked.”