The charges against a Black man whose arrest was caught on video and went viral have been dropped as the incident is under investigation.
Baltimore police officials say they just learned about the video on Thursday (December 5) and have been investigating the incident since it happened on Monday.
Video of the encounter was posted Thursday on Twitter and shows a 23-year-old man being arrested in south Baltimore. He’s heard telling the officer, “You are choking me, sir,” as the officer is on top of him. The video also appears to show the same officer reaching for his weapon while instructing onlookers to stay back.
Police said the man, David Dixon, was charged with felony drug possession, assault, trespassing and resisting arrest. They also claim the officer in the video was treated at a hospital because the man allegedly bit his hand.
The office of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney released a statement Friday, saying: “Based on the review of the unreleased body worn camera footage, dismissal of the charges was warranted and further investigation has been initiated.”
A copy of the arrest report was released on Friday and claims two detectives said they noticed a man standing near a no trespassing sign. When officers approached him, he turned away in what they considered to be an evasive move.
The report states one officer grabbed the man’s jacket and saw what he suspected to be illegal drugs. As the man tried to flee, one detective was hit in the face and stomach while another detective used his taser on the man three times.
The struggle moved to the ground, according to the report, and that’s when the detective claimed he was bitten on the hand. Police said after they arrested the man, they found drugs on him.
City Council President Brandon Scott sent a copy of the police body cam footage to Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. He told 11 News Thursday afternoon, “When you can see what could be a choke hold and things like that, it raises that level of concern. But we need to know everything that happened because we have to make sure that people are being treated fairly, but we also have to make sure our police officers are being treated fairly, so what we’re going to do is let the police commissioner do his investigation. My job is to stay on top of him and make sure he’s doing that so we can hold him accountable from an oversight standpoint.”
Scott also tweeted Thursday, “I was made aware of this video this morning and immediately alerted Commissioner Harrison. The commissioner informed me that this occurred on Dec. 2nd and that it is under investigation. I will be personally following up with him as more details come to light.”
The dropped charges come as Baltimore is attempting to reform its police department. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has reportedly asked the courts to throw out nearly 800 criminal cases handled by 25 city police officers, claiming she’s found reason to distrust more than a dozen cops in addition to the eight convicted in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal.
According to Vox, the task force spent years plundering Baltimore and its residents of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs and jewelry. Eight people in the nine-member team were charged with crimes, which amounted to extensive abuses of power and repeated violations of constitutional rights. Six pled guilty and two were convicted of several federal charges in early 2018.