Baltimore Police Tactics Under Renewed Scrutiny After Man Injured During Arrest
Baltimore resident Aaron Winston’s arm is broken while in custody sparking more scrutiny of police tactics
MEGAN SHERMAN, TRNN: In a city accustomed to controversial police tactics, community members and activists gathered Thursday in front of Power Plant Live in downtown Baltimore to support yet another city resident who says he was injured by overly-aggressive policing. The family of Aaron Winston says he sustained a broken arm during the altercation with Baltimore City police officers last week near the Power Plant Live complex.
NOAH SILAS SMITH: His life has value. There is no reason why his arm should be broken. There is no reason why he should have been charged three days later after the incident. We must stand for these injustices, or it will continue.
SHERMAN: According to the charging documents released by the department, officers were responding to a call at the Mosaic night club, where Winston was attending a friend’s birthday party. Winston’s brother recounts what he believes took place on Sunday.
KENNETH ERVIN: He came to Power Plant with a few friends that I’ve known since I was little. And they were in there having, you know, having a good time. And my brother Aaron Winston saw his friend getting escorted out, and Aaron happened to recognize one of the police officers that he’d known, that he’d worked at [the pool] with. And you know, he went over there, sober, not any anger behind him. And went to ask him, you know, what was going on. And his, the fellow officer that he was with, the officer that Aaron knew, grabbed my brother up and slammed him, and had his arm behind his back when he slammed him, and he broke his arm in two places.
SHERMAN: At an impromptu press conference, Police Commissioner Davis emphasized Winston was given medical care as soon as officers were aware of his injuries, but admitted that they did not follow police protocol.
KEVIN DAVIS: The policy is for the Baltimore police officers to remain with the person under arrest at the hospital. In my initial indication, based on my singular briefing so far, is that the officers who were tasked with remaining with Mr. Winston did not remain with Mr. Winston. We have a policy in place that needs to be followed. The early indication is that that policy wasn’t followed. But when the arrest warrant was obtained and approved, he returned with that arrest warrant and took Mr. Winston into custody after he was discharged from the hospital.
Absolutely. That’s all part of the investigation.
SHERMAN: Days after Winston received surgery he was charged with assault against the officers. Aaron’s mother, Renee Winston, says that the charges were a means to cover up police misconduct.
RENEE WINSTON: Trumped-up charges that they ran and did to cover their butts. Aaron did not assault no big six-foot-two officer, 200-some pounds, and he’s 140 pounds wet. There’s no officer that you can have down on record that they went to the hospital or anyplace because they were assaulted by my son. My son was the one assaulted. And now he has plates in him, and screws, that he’ll have for the rest of his life.
SHERMAN: Photographer Devin Allen, who documented the events following the death of Freddie Gray, says this type of incident is all too common in cities like Baltimore, where the police department continues to find itself answering questions about use of force.
DEVIN ALLEN: It’s just crazy because, you know, we’re having to, you know, Tyrone West and multiple other brothers here. And then you have, you know, Keith Davis. And then Freddie Gray, and now the anniversary of Freddie Gray is coming up and the police officers do this, you know, it’s just like, it’s stupidity. And that’s just how I feel. So I’m just here to support the family, and just lend my services and my photography to give them images to circulate around, you know, social media so people can have, you know, positive images of the family coming together peacefully.
SHERMAN: This is Megan Sherman, Stephen Janis, and Bashi Rose.
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