A 13-year-old Baltimore girl needed 10 stitches in her head after a police officer hit her with a baton in an altercation caught on video.
Video released yesterday shows the altercation between an officer and a girl, identified as Diamond. At first, Diamond’s cousin, Starr, is seen talking to the officer after walking down a stairway. The officer then grabs her by the arm and pushes her against a wall — at one point holding her by her hair.
Starr’s grandmother, Vanessa Ward, told WBAL-TV
The officer was hollering at her and said, ‘Little girl, get down here. And so Starr said, ‘My name is not little girl, it’s Starr.’ Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that’s when the officer grabbed her.
In the footage, Starr’s sister and Diamond are both seen trying to step between the officer and Starr. Eventually, the officer lets Starr go and begins chasing Diamond. The officer then draws her baton and hits Diamond, who is backed against a wall with her hands up.
A photograph taken after the incident last October shows a bandage on Diamond’s head and bloodstains on her Vanguard Middle School shirt.
Diamond and her cousins were suspended from Vanguard and charged with assaulting an officer following the incident. School officials alleged that the officer was punched, kicked and scratched in the face. But the charges were dropped after prosecutors reviewed the video.
Diamond’s mother says she wasn’t informed by the school that her child had been attacked and only later found out from the paramedics. In addition to using a baton, it can now be confirmed that the officer also pepper sprayed the young girls.
“The officer kind of comes from behind and reaches around and sprays them multiple times in the face with pepper spray,” the family’s attorney, Jared Jaskot, said. “It’s disgusting.”
Even though the charges were dropped, Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Gregory Thornton upheld their suspensions, and Gene Ryan, head of the local police union, says the officer was correct in using her baton while trying to make an arrest.
The name of the officer involved in the incident has not been released. However, she was reassigned to administrative duties after a complaint from the family spurred an internal investigation.