BALTIMORE — On Thursday, a Baltimore City Grand Jury returned a 2-count indictment against Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Officer Charles Baugher for offenses that occurred on June 6, 2019 in Baltimore, which included one count of second degree assault and one count of misconduct in office.
Baugher faces up to up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge and there is no statutory penalty for the misconduct charge, which is classified as a misdemeanor.
While Officer Baugher is assumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the indictment alleges that on June 6, 2019, at 6:20 p.m., Officer Baugher arrived to the unit block of North Kresson Street to assist other BPD members with an investigation and arrest of Corey Dyson.
When Officer Baugher arrived at the North Kresson Street location, Tyquwon Phillips, a 17-year-old juvenile at the time, was on the sidewalk using his cell phone to record Dyson's arrest. BPD Detective Demetri Bezzek stood near Phillips and maintained control of the scene.
At approximately 4:35 p.m., Officer Baugher attempted to place Phillips under arrest at the direction of BPD Sgt. Jason Hines. When Officer Baugher attempted to take Phillips into custody, he made harmful, offensive and unwanted contact with Phillips, without legal justification, when he lunged at Phillips and used his hands to grab him around his neck, then forcefully shoved him against a wall. Officer Baugher then, while choking Phillips, forcefully slammed him to the ground.
While he attempted to take Phillips into custody, he both ignored and violated BPD policies regarding arrests and use of force.
At all times relevant, Officer Baugher was a sworn public officer, acting under color of his office. The physical assault was not accidental, consented to, nor legally justified.
“My office remains steadfast in our commitment to uphold one standard of justice regardless of race, religion, or occupation," said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott send out the following statement on this indictment late Friday night.
“Today, the State’s Attorney’s Office brought charges against a police detective who choked and physically assaulted a 17-year-old teenager who was filming an arrest in June 2019.
Incidents like this one not only undermine our efforts to build trust between police officers and our community, they do not make our neighborhoods safer. This is unacceptable behavior for someone sworn to protect and serve. It is also a fundamental abuse of power. I have spoken with Commissioner Harrison who has assured me that the ongoing internal investigation into this matter will be thorough and handled expeditiously.
While I commend BPD on the progress they have made toward becoming a more constitutionally operating police force as part of the consent decree process, this incident is a stark reminder of the work we have yet to do. We can and we must work to reduce crime in our city without returning to the unacceptable practices of the past that didn’t reduce crime, but broke trust between BPD and our communities. We must strive for nothing less than transparency, accountability and public trust as we work to build a safer city.”
In addition to Mayor Scott, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison also sent out a statement.
“I have been made aware of this incident and this is exactly the type of conduct that we are working to correct to ensure we are delivering constitutional policing and improving relationships with our community. We opened an internal investigation as soon as we became aware of this incident and the officer’s police powers were suspended. The internal investigation continues.”