Former Baltimore cop disputes assault charges, seeks release ahead of trial

Former officer Arthur Williams is disappointed with the charges against him, but “looks forward to his day in court and his chance to tell his side of the story”


Kevin Rector
The Baltimore Sun

The attorney for a former Baltimore police officer who was criminally charged for punching a man in East Baltimore said Wednesday that his client maintains his innocence and will seek release pending trial during a bail review hearing scheduled Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Maronick Jr. said former officer Arthur Williams, who resigned from the force after the Saturday encounter and was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday, served in the military, was “a stellar recruit” before graduating at the top of his police academy class in April and had “a perfect record as a police officer” since that time.

“He is a family man, [a father] of a young child. He is somebody who is very active in the community, and what’s being alleged against him is such a polar opposite of who he is,” Maronick said. “One video is not the totality of the circumstances, and one video that is being portrayed by the media in a particular way is not who he is as a person.”

Maronick said Williams is disappointed with the charges against him, but “looks forward to his day in court and his chance to tell his side of the story.”

Maronick said he could not comment on any existing relationship or familiarity between Williams and 26-year-old Dashawn McGrier, the man Williams was punching in the video. Williams had arrested McGrier in June.

Maronick said Williams is “a good person” and “someone who is not the man that I believe the charges portray him to be.”

The video in question shows McGrier push Williams’ hand off his chest in the midst of a verbal exchange. It then shows Williams repeatedly punching McGrier in the face and head before taking McGrier to the ground as he continues throwing punches. McGrier did not fight back.

Interim police Commissioner Gary Tuggle and Mayor Catherine Pugh described the video as disturbing, and Tuggle suspended Williams before Williams resigned. On Tuesday, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced a grand jury had indicted Williams on three counts: first-degree assault, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

A second officer at the scene has been placed on administrative duties pending the investigation into the incident, but Mosby said he will not face charges.

Williams has a bail review hearing in downtown Baltimore scheduled at 2 p.m. Maronick said he will seek to have his client released on his own recognizance pending trial.

Maronick also criticized the police union, and its president, Lt. Gene Ryan, specifically, for how they handled Williams’ suspension and subsequent arrest.

Ryan told The Baltimore Sun that he believed there might be more to the story, but that he believed Tuggle took “the appropriate action” by suspending Williams, and that the video showed “inexcusable behavior” that the department “can’t tolerate” from officers. He also said that the incident was “something we don’t need right now. We don’t need another black eye.”

“The police union and its leadership is supposed to be representing its members. They’re supposed to be talking about their due process rights,” Maronick said. “It’s astounding to see a quote about ‘another black eye,’ which is what Gene Ryan started talking about after this incident rather than about the rights my client retains, rather than his innocence until proven guilty, rather than about his due process rights.”

Maronick said he would have more to say at a later time about the circumstances surrounding Williams’ resignation from the force after the incident occurred.

Maronick said what the public knows of this case is “simply what the media is reporting, and that’s why we have trials and that’s why defendants have a presumption of innocence.” He said “the evidence that is presented in court, I think, will be a fair representation of the totality of circumstances.”

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©2018 The Baltimore Sun

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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