BALTIMORE (AP) — After a man's right arm was broken during a weekend arrest at a Baltimore night club, police have launched an investigation.
Aaron Winston, 24, underwent hospital treatment and was jailed and released. He faces charges of assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, failure to obey an officer and other charges, police said.
Winston had approached officers who were called to the Mosaic Nightclub in downtown Baltimore just after 1 a.m. Sunday to respond to a fight inside, according to a police report. One of the arresting officers reported that Winston repeatedly interfered with their attempts to escort another man out of the club, and that Winston and an officer struggled and fell to the ground, where Winston was placed in handcuffs. Winston was then walked to a nearby police station, where he told officers that his arm hurt.
At a news conference Thursday Commissioner Kevin Davis said Winston was immediately taken to the hospital, and the Special Investigation Response Team, a unit tasked with investigating all use of force incidents, was contacted to open an investigation.
Davis said department officials currently believe the officers made a lawful arrest, and he said all officers involved are still on active duty.
"We know there are allegations of misconduct. We know there was a use of force incident in which a prisoner ended up breaking his arm and being admitted to the hospital," Davis said. "We know the names of the officers involved and they're all subject to an investigation but I think it's a little early, a little premature to characterize their actions as inappropriate or unlawful."
Davis said Thursday that although officers always intended to charge Winston when he was released, they violated departmental protocol by not staying by the man's side while he was in the hospital.
"The only administrative violation I've detected so far is that the officers didn't stay with Mr. Winston throughout his hospital stay," Davis said.
Winston's mother, Renee Winston, disagrees with the department's version of the events that landed her son in the hospital with his arm broken in two places.
"I think it's horrible," she said Thursday. "It's excessive abuse, it's brutal and I think the officer should lose his job."
Baltimore's police department has been under increased scrutiny following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a fatal neck injury in the back of a police transport van last April. In the wake of Gray's death the city broke out in protests and unrest, and the police commissioner, Anthony Batts, was fired. Six officers were charged with crimes and the Department of Justice announced an investigation into allegations of excessive force and unlawful searches. In October the department launched its body camera pilot program. By 2017 all officers will be equipped with such technology.
None of the officers involved in this incident were wearing body cameras, and Davis said the department is working to identify whether video footage is available.