The Baltimore Police Department faced both criticism from both city officials and a $35 million lawsuit in connection with footage of an officer attacking a man following an angry verbal exchange this past June, WJZ-TV reported on Tuesday.
“Much like the public, I’m shocked, I’m outraged, I’m disgusted by what I saw by an employee of the Baltimore City Police Department,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said during a press conference regarding the video showing Officer Vincent Cosom striking 32-year-old Kollin Truss in the face repeatedly.
The footage shows Truss and Cosom getting into an argument after Cosom allegedly told Truss to stop loitering outside a liquor store. At one point, Truss reportedly went into the store and told Cosom, “F*ck you, I will see you when I get outside.”
The footage shows Truss’ girlfriend, Stephanie Coleman, getting between the two men when Truss leaves the store, and leading him away from the scene when Cosom appears and begins punching Truss. Cosom is seen continuing to hit Truss even after another officer tries to pull Truss away. Truss was arrested and charged at the time with assaulting Cosom, but the charges were dropped after three days and he was released from jail.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Batts did not see the video until Truss’ attorney released it on Monday.
“This system had a break down and the middle manager failed to do what should have been done,” Batts said. “[Cosom] should have been pulled out immediately,” Batts said.
Cosom has been suspended with pay and internal affairs is reportedly investigating the incident. Cosom stated in his report that Truss and Coleman began arguing after reaching the street across from the store, which is not shown in the video.
However, not only is Batts looking into outfitting his officers with body cameras, but Cosom himself has been criticized by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and city council member Carl Stokes.
“It seems apparent that the officer wrote a dishonest report,” Stokes told the Sun. “The citizen wasn’t in a fighting position. The more proper thing would have been for the second officer to get between his colleague and this citizen, and say, ‘Stop this. Don’t do this. This is not what we do, no matter how angry we are.'”
Watch WJZ’s report on the footage, as aired on Tuesday, below.
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