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Maryland Police Officer Resigns Over Beating Caught on Video

A top Baltimore cop said he's "deeply disturbed by the video."

A police officer in Baltimore who was filmed repeatedly punching a man and throwing him to the ground has resigned.

The officer, whom authorities have not yet identified, was initially placed on administrative leave after the episode on Saturday, interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle told reporters Monday. Tuggle said authorities are considering second-degree assault charges against him.

The “video is extremely disappointing to me,” Tuggle said of the footage, which was shot on a cellphone and posted online. “I don’t think there was any room for the activity that I saw on that, and it is extremely disturbing.”

A second officer also seen in the video has been placed on administrative duties.

The officers were working in the 2500 block of Monument Street on Saturday morning when they encountered 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier, whom they’d had contact with previously. When they approached McGrier, he refused to provide his identification, police said.

The video lasts about 30 seconds. McGrier can be heard shouting “For what?” and “Don’t touch me!” before the first officer pummels him with his fists and throws him to the ground. The officer is then seen using his body to pin McGrier to the ground.

Officers ultimately subdued and detained McGrier, who did not appear to resist or struggle with them. 

McGrier’s lawyer, Warren Brown, told CBS News his client was hospitalized after the incident and “may have suffered a broken jaw, a broken nose, maybe some fractured ribs, and he had difficulty with feeling his left leg.” McGrier was not charged with any crime. 

Brown said that previously, in June, McGrier had been accused of assaulting the officer who attacked him. He is contesting those charges, The Associated Press reported. Details on the earlier incident were not immediately available Monday.

Brown told CBS News he believes the officer attacked his client because of their prior run-in.

“He is charged with assaulting that officer then, and so here this officer now is like, you know, going after him,” Brown said. 

Authorities have not corroborated Brown’s allegations. A hearing in the prior case is scheduled for August 22, according to the AP.

Brown told CBS News he plans to file a lawsuit. Details on that are expected to be released Monday afternoon.

Ben Jealous, a former NAACP chief who is running for governor, said the video “shows just how far community-police relations have fallen in Baltimore.”

City institutions have been struggling to earn public trust since the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died in police custody.

“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 reestablish trust of all citizens in the Baltimore Police Department,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh tweeted.

“Long term, we need to be investing in our communities and recruiting police officers who have the temperament, tools, and training to keep us safe without resorting to unnecessary violence,” she added.

Brown called the officer’s actions “police brutality.”

“It does nothing to lower crime,” he told CBS News. “My client was not involved in any criminal activity. It’s just gratuitous violence that’s unnecessary and does no good for the city.”

“I’m deeply disturbed by the video,” Tuggle said in a statement released after the video surfaced. “I have zero tolerance for behavior like I witnessed on the video ... Officers have a responsibility and duty to control their emotions.”

Tuggle is asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact the Baltimore Police Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility at 410-396-2300.

 Send David Lohr an email or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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