BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced that a sergeant within the department has been arrested and charged for an alleged assault that was caught on body camera footage on May 30.
Harrison said 24-year veteran Sgt. Ethan Newberg stated in his police report that while he was conducting a warrant check on a person in the 2300 block of Ashton Street when a passerby challenged him and became aggressive, prompting the sergeant to make an arrest.
Harrison said after reviewing Sgt. Newberg's body camera footage, the video showed otherwise.
Harrison explained in a Thursday evening news conference that the footage actually showed the passerby complaining to the sergeant about him arresting the warrant check subject on a wet side walk. Harrison said the passerby walked away after exchanging words with Newberg, when the sergeant then chased and grabbed him and another officer tackled and arrested him.
"For what I saw, the man did nothing to provoke Sgt. Newberg, whose actions were not just wrong, but deeply disturbing and illegal," said Harrison.
Harrison says Newberg's arrest is not a reflection of the Baltimore Police Department, and that his behavior and actions are not tolerated.
"It's no secret we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our relationship with our community members and to regain their trust," said Harrison. "Today represents our commitment to police accountability, transparency, and command leadership."
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Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby was also at the news conference and shared a statement with the media on the officer's arrest.
"I'm grateful to the new police commissioner that has expeditiously ensured that one standard of justice is applied, and, although Sgt. Newberg is presumed innocent until proven guilty, he will have his day in court," said Mosby.
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young released a statement on Harrison's announcement.
"I fully support the actions taken by Commissioner Michael S. Harrison. An essential part of police reform in Baltimore involves restoring the trust between the community and members of the police department. In my view, the actions taken by the officer in question are unbecoming of someone in law enforcement and will not be tolerated. In the hours after becoming Mayor, I made a point to visit with the hard working officers who make up our force to thank them for their service and to encourage them to fully support my push to develop a real community policing policy in Baltimore. During those visits, I heard from many dedicated public servants and believe that the overwhelming majority of our officers take their duty to protect and serve extremely serious. I have long championed police reform. In 2014, I called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a full Pattern or Practice investigation into our department and followed that request up with legislation mandating body-worn cameras for the police department. The City of Baltimore is committed to reforming our police department and I will accept nothing short of that goal."
It was reported that in 2018 Newberg made $243,132.32, with a base salary of $99,860. He has been suspended from the police department without pay and is charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment, and misconduct.