Ex-Baltimore police officer filmed beating man pleads not guilty

Williams was seen on video repeatedly punching a civilian earlier this month.

August 16, 2018, 12:21 PM

A former Baltimore police officer caught on video repeatedly punching a man while on duty has pleaded not guilty to assault and misconduct charges.

Arthur Williams, 25, appeared in-person for his initial court hearing on Wednesday after turning himself in the night before. A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ordered for him to be released from jail until his trial on Oct. 23.

Prosecutors argued that he should be locked up without bail, according to ABC Baltimore affiliate WMAR. Williams, earlier this week, was indicted on charges of first- and second-degree assault and misconduct in office after video surfaced that showed him beating a man and throwing him to the ground.

The victim, 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier, was hospitalized after the attack for a fractured jaw and broken ribs. His attorney objected to the former officer's release on Wednesday and said he should be considered a threat to the community and the police force.

Williams' lawyer rejected those claims, describing his client as a family man, a mentor and a Marine with a clean record. He says the video of the altercation only tells part of the story.

A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Aug. 11, 2018, after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification.

"This is a man who is a spectacular person ... he had received three different awards when he was at the police academy. No history of violence during his time as a police officer," Williams' attorney, Thomas Maronick, told reporters on Wednesday. "This is someone who has done a lot of good for a lot of people, and obviously the video and the perception of what the public has is a different one then what the facts will show."

"Arthur is not a threat to anyone in the community," he added. "He looks very much forward to his day in court, his chance to tell his side of the story, and I think that is what we’re going to be able to do."

Williams, a Baltimore native, resigned from the police department on Aug. 12. A second officer seen in the video has been placed on administrative duties, according to the police department, which is withholding that man's identity. The second officer has not been charged.

The Baltimore State's Attorney Office indicted Williams on Tuesday over his Aug. 11 confrontation with McGrier, which the office said unfolded before "community onlookers."

"It is important that the community knows there is one standard of justice, no matter your sex, race, religion or occupation," State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement announcing the charges. "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."

Williams and another officer were patrolling an area near the 2500 block of Monument Street when he approached McGrier and asked for identification, according to the police department. The encounter "escalated" when McGrier refused.

McGrier was arrested but wasn't charged with a crime.

"My preliminary review of the public video is extremely disappointing. I don't think there was any room for the activity that I saw, and it's extremely disappointing,” Baltimore Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said at a Monday press conference. "The repeated head strikes are disturbing, the manner in which it was done, the attempt to take this individual to the ground was very post-the head strikes."

"This situation," he added, "shows us another deficiency in our training that we can learn from."