On Twitter this morning, an ex-Baltimore police sergeant named Michael A. Wood detailed a litany of abuses he witnessed or participated in while on the job. Even if your faith in cops to do the right thing has been completely demolished over the past several years—or if it was never there to begin with—you’ll almost certainly find something new that turns your stomach.
Wood’s tweetstorm—which I first saw on the Kinja blog The Salad Bowl—comes in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death by spinal injury in the custody of Baltimore police in April. Gray’s death forced the Baltimore police into the national spotlight, but the department has a long history of abuse, particularly against black and low-income Baltimoreans. Wood—who served in various roles in the police department between 2003 and 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile—provides the gruesome specifics of that abuse.
So here we go. I'm going to start Tweeting the things I've seen & participated in, in policing that is corrupt, intentional or not.June 24, 2015
A detective slapping a completely innocent female in the face for bumping into him, coming out of a corner chicken store.June 24, 2015
Punting a handcuffed, face down, suspect in the face, after a foot chase. My handcuffs, not my boot or suspectJune 24, 2015
CCTV cameras turning as soon as a suspect is close to caught.June 24, 2015
Presumably, he means CCTV cameras “turning off”—so they don’t catch the violence the cops inflict when they catch up with their suspects.
Targeting 16-24 year old black males essentially because we arrest them more, perpetrating the circle of arresting them more.June 24, 2015
Pissing and shitting inside suspects homes during raids, on their beds and clothes.June 24, 2015
Shitting on people’s clothes!
Swearing in court and PC docs that suspect dropped CDS during unbroken visual pursuit when neither was true.June 24, 2015
That is, lying under oath in court and in probable cause affidavits that he saw a person drop controlled dangerous substances—drugs—while chasing them.
Jacking up and illegally searching thousands of people with no legal justificationJune 24, 2015
Having other people write PC statements, who were never there because they could twist it into legality.June 24, 2015
Asking people who weren’t present at the scene of an incident to lie and say that they were on a probable cause affidavit, which Wood and his colleagues could later use to obtain a search or arrest warrant.
Summonsing officers who weren't there so they could collect the overtime.June 24, 2015
A ploy to collect extra money for your colleagues, which Wood and another tweeter helpfully explain below.
@snarkyRedhd exactly. Summonsing is stating that these people are necessary witnesses for the state's case.June 24, 2015
After many people responded to Wood’s tweets in anger that he hadn’t come forward sooner—while he was still employed by the BPD, maybe—he offered this alarming bit of ostensible justification.
What's really hard to convey is that some things are so common place, they didn't register until I was on the other side.June 24, 2015
At the end of that horrifying string of anecdotes, Wood wrote that he may tweet more tomorrow.
I'll do some each day so that we have time for ?s, reflections, and improvement inbetween. The light of transparency will clean us up.June 24, 2015