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BPD officer convicted of assault after striking man in face during traffic stop

Posted at 10:05 PM, Sep 24, 2018

A Baltimore Police officer has been convicted of second-degree assault and misconduct on the job for an unlawful arrest of a man during a traffic stop.

According to the State's Attorney's office, in September of 2016 during a traffic stop on the 600 block of Pataspsco Avenue, Officer Donald Gaff ordered a man to exit the vehicle and show his identification. When the passenger neglected to do so, Gaff pushed and struck him in the face.

Gaff told officials in a statement that the man struck him and resisted arrest. But video footage from body worn camera showed otherwise. The man was actually restrained with his arms behind his back while Gaff yelled explicit language telling him, "You're going to jail."

Officer Graff was later charged and during his sentencing, his victim shared an emotional statement regarding the turn of events. He stated that although he believed the officer acted inappropriately, Gaff had learned his lesson and that “jail was no place for this man.”

“This is the criminal justice system at its best and this victim’s actions in court imparted so much healing on our system and the families in this case,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “This victim not only bravely came forward against a police officer, but he also displayed an overwhelming amount of human dignity by forgiving this defendant for his crime.”

The judge in Graff's case imposed a one year suspended sentence and one year supervised probation.