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'I Will Choke You. I Will Kill You.' Baltimore Police Officer, Sergeant Indicted Over Violent Arrest of Teenager; Officials Not Yet Releasing Body-Worn Camera Video

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore police officer Maxwell Dundore faces 10 years in prison after a grand jury indicted him for assaulting a 17-year-old in the 2800-block of Mayfield Avenue.

The incident happened in April of 2020 when the officer saw the teen getting out of a car that had been reported stolen.

Here's how Baltimore City State's Attorney said the encounter unfolded: Officer Dundore slammed the teen face down on the concrete, wrapped his arm around his neck and told him, "I swear to god, I'll choke you out if you don't stop." As the teen tried to escape, the officer held him under his chin, and the 17-year-old struggled to breathe. He told him "I will choke you. I will kill you." Prosecutors said after the teen was restrained, Dundore kicked him in the head.

Several people in the community told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that because of incidents like this, they no longer trust the police.

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done," said Jeffery Fellows. "As a Black dad with Black kids, it's frightening. A lot of times, I feel like police wake up on the wrong side of the bed. They bring their problems to work, and if they've got to subdue a person, they take their frustrations out on them."

Aaron Bell, who lives on the block, told Hellgren, "They literally have no credibility with me. There's no authority with them. They don't carry themselves professionally, and they don't treat people with the level of dignity and respect that they deserve. …Most of them walkthrough here and don't know any of us."

Body-worn cameras captured the entire encounter but police and prosecutors will not yet release the video though the incident happened 15 months ago.

Prosecutors also charged Sergeant Brendan O'Leary, who reviewed the video of the incident, with making a false statement.

They said the sergeant's report did not reflect what was seen on camera: O'Leary reportedly said the teen grabbed the officer's shoelaces causing Officer Dundore to trip and then inadvertently strike him in the face -- when what prosecutors said the video really showed was a deliberate kick to the teenager's head.

Both of the officers have been suspended with pay and are currently on administrative duties. Sergeant O'Leary faces up to six months if convicted of making a false statement.

The police union has not commented on the incident, and we were unable to reach the officers.

Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement Friday on the indictment:

"I am aware that two members of the Baltimore Police Department were indicted today for an incident involving the arrest of a teenager last April. I am disgusted by these allegations and remain committed to improving this culture and lack of humanity. Building a safer Baltimore is my top priority. Police can apprehend suspects without unduly harming or degrading them. Moreover, I will continue to advocate before the Maryland General Assembly for the necessary local authority to immediately terminate officers for clearly egregious conduct in the interest of public safety. I look forward to a swift and thorough judicial process."

4th District Councilman Mark Conway said the incident and the cover-up attempt are "appalling."

"There is no scenario in which brutalizing, degrading, and threatening the life of a teenager — or anyone — is an appropriate part of an arrest," said Conway. "It is situations like this that breed mistrust toward police in Baltimore's communities and frustrates city government's efforts to make our city safer."

Conway said he supports all measures to terminate the officers.

Read both indictments below:

Dundore Speaking Indictment by Rohan M on Scribd




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