A Baltimore police officer was suspended Saturday after a video surfaced showing him attacking a man on a sidewalk.
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department announced the officer’s suspension in a statement, saying he was “deeply disturbed” by the video.
Tuggle said the police department was investigating the “totality of this incident,” which includes reviewing footage from a body camera.
The man in the pink shorts was later identified as Dashawn McGrier, 26, by his attorney Warren Brown, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The video shows a police officer, who appears to be black, confronting McGrier while another officer stands guard in front of them. McGrier can be heard yelling at the officer and saying “don’t touch me” before the officer punches him repeatedly.
The officer continued to punch McGrier, who did not appear to fight back, until McGrier fell over a short staircase in front of a rowhouse.
The second officer in the video briefly put his arms between the two parties but backed off as the first officer continued his attack. The first officer eventually tackled McGrier to the ground, and blood could be seen dripping from McGrier’s face.
Brown told the Sun that his client was not charged with a crime after the filmed confrontation, which took place Saturday. Brown also said the same police officer in the video had previously encountered McGrier in June, in an incident that resulted in McGrier being charged with assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
According to Brown, the police officer, whose identity has not been released, targeted McGrier without justification.
“It seems like this officer had just decided that Dashawn was going to be his punching bag,” Brown told the Sun. “And this was a brutal attack that was degrading and demeaning to my client, to that community, and to the police department.”
Black rights activist and writer Shaun King called on the Baltimore Police Department to fire the officer and charge him with assault instead of handing down a suspension.
“Laws regarding assault still apply to police. This isn’t MMA,” King tweeted, referring to mixed martial arts. “Completely shameful. None of that was necessary.”
The department’s misconduct was highlighted in 2015 when Freddie Gray, 25, suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody and died one week later. Although Gray’s death sparked massive protests across the country, the six officers involved with his fatal arrest were either acquitted or their charges dropped.
This year, Baltimore officer Richard A. Pinheiro, 29, was charged with misconduct after footage from a body camera allegedly showed him planting drugs at a crime scene. Two Baltimore detectives were also found guilty in a major corruption case this year, involving racketeering, robbery and routine violations of citizens’ rights, according to the Sun.
Baltimore Police entered into a consent decree with the city of Baltimore last year after the Department of Justice found that the department has engaged in a pattern of misconduct and consistently violated citizens’ constitutional rights.
Since then, the city has been working with police officials on a sweeping reform of the entire department.
In a statement released later Saturday, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh called the video “very disturbing” and attempted to rally public confidence in the police department.
“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.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Freddie Gray died in 2016. He died in 2015.
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