Baltimore Cop Quit-Fired After Being Caught on Video Remodeling Citizen's Face

Post-Racial America

Baltimore might give a collective shrug to its police officers helping a suspect sever his own spine, but at least it is drawing a firm-ish line in the sand over cops beating suspects like Bluto working over a pre-spinach-enhanced Popeye:

A Maryland police officer who was caught on camera repeatedly punching a man has resigned from the Baltimore Police Department, an official said Sunday. [...]

"The officer involved in yesterday's incident is no longer with the Baltimore Police Department," T.J. Smith, chief of media relations, said.

The former officer, Arthur Williams, is black, as was his involuntary sparring partner, so we guess this is the sort of "black-on-black" crime conservatives always bemoan. It's a rhetorical trick more tired than a Milton Berle routine that's intended to get black people to shut up about police violence, but instead of yelling at NFL players, the offending officer actually did something about it by leaving the force to pursue his true calling with the Golden Gloves.

The neon shorts are tough on the eyes, but other than that, I don't see any actual crime committed that justifies wailing on the brother like this. I imagine if your racist grandma who falls asleep every night to Hannity saw this video, she'd cheer the officer on: "That's the stuff! Make him pull up those sagging pants! It's why those people can't get ahead. Martin Luther King wore sensible clothing that fit, and even though he was a Communist, I respected the effort."

it's still unclear what Dashawn McGrier, the man receiving the ass beating, did to unleash Williams's "fists of fury." Reports claim that McGrier refused to provide identification when asked, the punishment for which I don't think is an extended hospital stay. It's also alleged that McGrier "slapped away" Williams's hand, but that's also not the biggest deal in the world unless you have serious anger management issues.

The man's attorney said this isn't the first time the officer has gotten physical with his client. Warren Brown, the attorney for Dashawn McGrier, the man in the video, said his client has a broken or fractured jaw and that he sustained injuries to his eye socket, nose, ribs and left leg.

Brown told 11 News that his client was charged in a June 26 incident involving the same officer, whom he identified as Officer Arthur Williams. Online court records show McGrier was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing and hindering and resisting and interfering with arrest.

Online court records show McGrier was released from jail June 28. A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for Aug. 22. Baltimore police are not confirming any details related to the June 26 incident.

Williams was originally suspended with pay -- otherwise known as a "vacation" -- and his partner, who was unable to identify and prevent a clear act of assault in his presence, was placed on "administrative duties" -- also known as "put your feet up and enjoy the air conditioning." Williams received uniformly negative reviews for his performance in the video on Rotten Tomatoes with everyone from the interim police commissioner to the mayor giving him a thumbs down.

Here's the thing: Mayor Pugh is responding to a viral video that a guy on the street recorded and posted on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It's hard to have much trust in the Baltimore Police Department if it's necessary for black folks to take the precaution of bringing along our own camera crews whenever we leave the house.

Williams was a member of the Baltimore Police Department for just over a year. Freddie Gray died more than three years ago. It's one thing to weed out existing "bad apples," but it seems like they were actively recruiting new ones to further spoil the bunch. Cutting Williams loose is necessary but ultimately just a Band-Aid on a festering wound. The officers involved in Gray's death went unpunished, and there's no guarantee Williams won't wind up playing the live-action version of "Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!" on the streets of some other city.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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