BALTIMORE — A Baltimore Police Officer has been convicted of Misconduct in Office and assaulting a juvenile in front of City Hall in 2016, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office announced in a statement Tuesday.
The charges stemmed from an incident on July 5, 2016. At about 2 a.m., Officer Carlos Rivera-Martinez responded to a request for additional officers in the 400 block of Baltimore Street. Police there were told to clear the block, as a group of people had congregated, yelling at officers and refusing to leave. When the group wouldn’t move, Rivera-Martinez said he was going to arrest the juvenile for disorderly conduct and failing to obey an officer’s lawful order. The juvenile said he left when ordered, disputing the officer’s claims.
As the juvenile began running away, Rivera-Martinez pursued him on foot, following him north on Gay Street and eventually apprehending him in front of City Hall. At that point, the juvenile stopped in the midst a gravel path, put his hands up, and kneeled, according to the statement recount the events presented at trial from Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Trostle and Police Trust and Police Integrity Unit Officer Alex Rodriguez. Rivera-Martinez proceeded to tackle the juvenile and hit him several times with a Taser the officer had in hand.
The juvenile’s actions were not recorded in the original statement of charges, but his actions were later discovered when investigators reviewed CCTV footage from the Memorial Plaza area. The juvenile was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center where he was treated for cuts and abrasions to his face and head, as well as for a broken leg.
The President of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Mike Mancuso, released a statement, claiming the judge pressured the jury to release a verdict:
"Prior to rendering the decision, the jury sent numerous messages to the judge advising that they were unable to agree on a verdict," Mancuso said in a statement released on Twitter. "The judge informed them that due to scheduling issues, they would not be able to resume deliberations until Monday."
Mancuso continued on by excoriating the judge's action, "We are appalled by this action and see it as even more evidence that despite our best efforts, we continue to work in an environment that is increasingly anti-police, enforced by a judicial system that feels compelled to strike out at our good work."
The Union President then went further by warning officers to be aware of what happened to Rivera-Martinez, and that they too could find themselves in the same position someday;
"It is obvious that there is an element that would rather attack the police than the criminals destroying this city. Those who sit in judgment of us believe that murders can be changed with hugs and prayers. They refuse to see that police work and the use of force can be ugly, but necessary at times. This however does not mean that the officer has done anything wrong. When you engage, please remember that even though you follow all the rules and policies of the BPD , you could still find yourself in a bad spot."
To read Mancuso's full statement, click here.
Rivera-Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced on August 9. He faces up to 10 years in prison for the assault conviction. Misconduct in Office does not have a statutory penalty, and will be decided by the judge at sentencing.