Officer spews derogatory insults and orders man to the ground at gunpoint
Baltimore (August 15, 2019) - Michael Gentil — an officer of 24 years at the Baltimore City Police Department — was convicted this week of first-degree assault and using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence after pulling his gun on a pedestrian during an off-duty road-rage incident in January of this year. Gentil’s sentencing is scheduled for September 16, 2019. His first offense carries a sentence of up to 25 years, and his second offense carries a sentence of a minimum of 5 years with a maximum of 20 years.
Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Trostle from the Public Trust, Police Integrity Unit (PIU) prosecuted this case.
During the trial, the State called four witnesses to testify, including a city resident, who testified that in the late hours of January 22, 2019, when crossing Edison Highway, he was nearly struck by a driver who failed to yield the right of way to him as a pedestrian. The resident stated that afterward, the operator of the vehicle—later identified as off-duty Officer Michael Gentil—pulled his vehicle over, exited the car, and pointed his gun at the resident while making derogatory and racial statements toward him. The officer then ordered the man to get on the ground and apologize. CitiWatch cameras captured a portion of the incident, which was played at trial.
The testimony of another city resident who happened to be driving by when the incident occurred and called 911 to report that she was afraid that there was going to be a shooting corroborated most of what the first witnessed reported. The State took the position that this was road rage, while the defendant, through his attorney, argued that Mr. Gentil was acting in his official capacity as a police officer and followed legal and departmental guidelines in the actions he took. The Judge, in his verdict, stated that he believed that Mr. Gentil was angry and acted out of his anger, and not in his capacity as a police officer.
“On behalf of the city’s criminal justice system, I apologize to the victim in this case. If the public is to ever truly feel safe and protected by law enforcement, these blatant examples of maltreatment of citizens by those sworn to serve and protect, must and will be atoned for,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Our office has worked diligently to protect the civil rights of citizens against abuse of power by law enforcement and to break down barriers of distrust in the criminal justice system. Cases where criminal justice professionals choose to abuse their authority like Officer Gentil will be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Contact: Zy Richardson Phone: (443) 984-6078 Email: Zrichardson@stattorney.org