The Baltimore Police Department is investigating a video that appears to show a sergeant cough at a woman intentionally as he passes her outside Perkins Homes housing complex in Southeast Baltimore during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Instagram video shows a woman call out to the uniformed officer, who, as he passes her on the sidewalk, coughs toward her.
“After watching the full video, in its entirety, it is not only disturbing, but incomprehensible, especially considering the high-level of strong and clear guidance that we have provided from the beginning, regarding COVID-19,” police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Members are always expected to be sensitive and professional to the community, but what we saw in the video is alarming because this pandemic is affecting lives not only nationally, worldwide, but right here in our own police department,” Harrison said.
The Department’s Public Integrity Bureau is conducting an internal investigation into the video that was posted online Tuesday morning, which, along with the sergeant’s body-worn camera footage, will be reviewed.
Kobi Little, president of the local branch of NAACP, said the sergeant should be held accountable to show both officers and the community that such behavior won’t be accepted.
Little had called on Harrison to condemn the actions of the sergeant, both “to the force and the public, that says that BPD has zero tolerance for misconduct during this public health crisis and is committed to responding sensibly, compassionately and responsibly as it patrols and answers emergency calls to maintain public health and safety.”
Little continued, “This incident is emblematic of the force’s failure to respect and build trust with the people of Baltimore. It is hard to justify budget increases and spy planes when the police fail to engage the public with dignity and often are themselves a danger to the public."
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said he also found the sergeant’s behavior “beyond unacceptable.”
“When you are in public service, it is your duty to treat everyone with respect, especially in a time where we are dealing with both a public health pandemic and a gun violence epidemic," Scott said. "This is not behavior that we want our police officers or any of our public servants to model to our residents.”
BALTIMORE PD COP APPEARS TO COUGH ON CITIZENS... As Intentional Response to Heckling
A Baltimore police officer reacted to jeers at a housing complex by loudly coughing at residents without covering his mouth, and it's triggered an investigation.
The video shows the cop walking through the Perkins Homes complex in East Baltimore. Sounded like a few people were giving him crap when he seemed to purposefully cough right at the woman recording him.
She immediately fired back with a bunch of verbal cracks as the cop walked away. Baltimore PD spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge says, "We have viewed the video, in its entirety, and believe it warranted being forwarded to the Public Integrity Bureau for an internal investigation."
TMZ's confirmed with police the officer, who's a sergeant, is still on active duty right now. It's unclear if he's been tested for coronavirus.
A Baltimore police officer responded to jeers at a housing complex by loudly coughing without covering his mouth.