Baltimore mayor to push for tougher police officer misconduct penalties
BALTIMORE - Baltimore City's mayor wants to make it easier to punish police officers who break the law.
She is calling on the General Assembly to change the law, to allow the police commissioner to suspend -- without pay -- an officer charged with a misdemeanor that could lead to more than a year in jail, that happened while the officer is on duty.
Police officers can face serious criminal charges; in September, police say Ofc. Gualberto Diaz broke into the apartment where his estranged wife was asleep with another man.
Investigators say Diaz threatened them both with his service weapon, then went back to work at the Northwestern District and asked for the rest of the day off.
Diaz was suspended without pay -- and is scheduled to go on trial this month on felony charges including first-degree assault and using a weapon during a violent crime.
But in June of last year, Ofc. Vincent Cosom was caught a police city-watch camera punching 32-year-old Kollin Truss, while another officer holds Truss's arm.
Cosom is charged with a second-degree assault -- a misdemeanor, so he has been suspended with pay.
“What we've seen around the country is while there is a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women of police departments around the country, there is a growing frustration and intolerance to the good cops putting up with the people they know shouldn't be on the street,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, during a news conference Monday afternoon.
The idea is likely to face opposition in Annapolis. The mayor said she is going by what she heard from city residents during community meetings, and she has spoken with the police union about her plan.
“What I have said to them, the officers, is that the status quo is not acceptable,” she said.
The head of Baltimore City FOP Lodge #3 has not responded to calls from ABC2 News directly, but the union's Twitter account indicated that the union would not comment until its officers have read the actual wording of the mayor's proposal.