BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore police officer has been arrested on charges of first-degree assault and misconduct in office. The state’s attorney charged Officer Kevin Battipaglia on Thursday on charges stemming from a Dec. 24 arrest, Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said in a release Friday evening.
Smith said that Battipaglia was immediately arrested and suspended without pay. He’s been on the force for five years. Smith’s statement did not include details about the incident, but defense attorney Latoya Francis-Williams told The Baltimore Sun that her client, 21-year-old Darrian Carr, was the one arrested Dec. 24. She said Battipaglia approached Carr on the street, struck him over the head and knocked him to the ground.
The newspaper described footage depicting the aftermath of that alleged encounter. Video shows another officer straddling Carr, while a third officer holds what appears to be a drawn service weapon. Battipaglia is shown holding a police-issue club. At one point, he kicks a can toward a gathered crowd.
Francis-Williams says Carr has been held without bail on gun charges related to the nearly three-month-old incident. She said “no one can figure out where this handgun came from” and that prosecutors said at a recent hearing that they were “working on” establishing probable cause for the arrest.
The Baltimore Sun couldn’t immediately obtain comment from the State’s Attorney Office on Francis-Williams’ accusations.
The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is working with prosecutors. The retirement of the head of that office was also announced Friday.
This undated photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department shows Officer Kevin Battipaglia, who was arrested on charges of first-degree assault and misconduct in office. Battipaglia was charged Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Baltimore Police Department via AP)
Baltimore’s troubled police department has drawn particular scrutiny in recent years, as the city experiences an uptick in violence amid several departmental scandals, including a report on unconstitutional practices and federal indictments of several officers on corruption charges.