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Body-worn video shows alleged assault by indicted Baltimore County corporal on detainee

Body-worn video shows alleged assault by indicted Baltimore County corporal and detainee
Body-worn video shows alleged assault by indicted Baltimore County corporal and detainee 02:14

BALTIMORE -- Three Baltimore County Police officers are suspended and facing charges in an alleged assault on a detainee in Baltimore City, Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates said during a press conference Tuesday. 

Bates said Baltimore County Police Corporal Zachary Small was charged with second-degree assault, reckless engagement, excessive force, and misconduct in office. 

Baltimore County officers Jacob Bruce and Justin Graham were also indicted for misconduct in the same incident, which took place in September 2023. They are accused of failing to intervene, which is a state law that was passed in 2022.

"If you see something, you have to say something. You have to do something," Bates said.

The indictment alleges that the officers cuffed the suspect's hands behind his back, placed leg shackles around his legs, and placed him inside a patrol vehicle at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

According to court documents, the suspect complained that the car was too hot, and told the officers "I cannot breathe." 

Small allegedly sprayed the suspect with pepper spray nine times in the face before closing the car door once again, then said, "You asked for it."

The suspect then began choking and gasping for air, calling out for assistance, and kicking against the car door to get the attention of the other officers, according to the indictment. 

Small then pulled the suspect out of the car by the shirt, threw him on the ground, and began yanking his hair back and forth while he pleaded for help, the indictment alleges. 

Body-camera footage shows Corporal Small's interaction with the detainee, who was wanted on a felony warrant. 

"Gone are the days that officers can just stand by and turn a blind eye," Bates said.

Prosecutors dropped the first-degree assault charge against Corporal Small. He's still facing second-degree assault charges. 

His attorney told WJZ last week he's confident Small will be exonerated. 

Randallstown NAACP President Ryan Coleman saw the video of the incident and called it concerning.

"We don't have a problem with good police," Coleman said. "It's bad police we have a problem with."

Bates announced two other indictments involving Baltimore City Police officers.

Prosecutors say Officer Alexia Davis crashed her patrol car into a motorcyclist on Sinclair Lane in June 2023. That motorcyclist lost a leg.

Davis is charged with several driving violations and misconduct in office.

Detective June Hall was indicted for falsifying time sheets and running personal errands with her department vehicle, according to court documents.

She's facing theft and misconduct charges.

The officers are all suspended and are due in court next month.

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