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Baltimore Police Launch Investigation Into New Brutality Claim

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore police are investigating the actions of one of their officers after video shows the officer punching a man in the face before his arrest.

Derek Valcourt has the exclusive video, which lasts just about a minute---but some say it shows an officer going too far.

Cell phone video appears to show a city officer trying to move a crowd from in front of a McDonald's on Howard Street---but the physical confrontation begins when the officer pokes a young man and the man then swats the officer's hand away.

"What, you got probable cause?" the man asked.

"I'm going to ask you to get out of my face," the officer replied.

"Don't touch me!" the man replied.

The officer took a few seconds to handcuff the man and then calls for backup while the crowd nearby screamed and yelled.

The young man in the handcuffs is 19-year-old Antonio Moore.

"He punched me for no reason," Moore said.

But the officer apparently saw it differently. In his statement of probable cause, he wrote Moore "without warning began rapidly advancing towards me in a threatening, hostile manner so I placed my arm out to create a distance and halted his advance."

"The video shows the proof. I didn't try to attack the officer," Moore said.

Moore's been charged with second degree assault and disorderly conduct.

City police were unaware of the video until WJZ showed it to them. While police would not speak on camera, the department is investigating and explains the video only shows a portion of what happened.

The video is the latest in a string of caught-on-camera incidents that have called into question officers' behavior, including an incident where a cop was caught on camera punching a man near a bus stop.

In fact, a Baltimore Sun investigation recently detailed dozens of cases where the city paid out more than $11 million to settle allegations of police brutality---part of why Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake now actively support the introduction of body cameras on all officers so they have more evidence of when police force is justified or crosses the line.

The ACLU tells WJZ based on that video, the officer appears to have escalated the situation. Officers should be prepared to be confronted without turning a situation into an altercation.

Police say so far, no one from the community has filed a formal complaint with internal affairs but the department says it is committed to transparency.

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