Baltimore (July 17, 2020) – Today, a Baltimore City Grand Jury returned a 2-count indictment against Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Officer Welton Simpson Jr., for offenses that occurred on January 17, 2020 in the City of Baltimore, including 1 count of false statement to law enforcement and 1 count of misconduct in office. Simpson faces up to 6 months in prison for his alleged behavior.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby also dismissed the charges of 2nd degree assault of law enforcement officer, 2nd degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in State – VS – Abdullah, State – VS – Burgess, and the case against the juvenile involved in this matter. Today’s indictment stems from an investigation led by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit and Evidence Review Unit and BPD’s Body Worn Camera Division and the Internal Affairs Division.
“We have shown again today that we are committed to upholding one standard of justice. Regardless of what your sex is, your religion, or your job – my office will hold you accountable,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby “Wearing a uniform and a badge means that the public needs to trust you and believe you. The indictment alleges that the officer violated this trust by making false statements and engaging in misconduct. We cannot accept and will not tolerate such actions.”
The indictment alleges that on the day of the incident - January 17, 2020 - Simpson was a sergeant in the Southern district within Baltimore City. Simpson, having been duly sworn, and properly trained on the policies of the BPD and on Constitutional restraints on power, acting under color of authority, did knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully disregard BPD and Constitutional policies and restraints, and instead authored false statements and representations in a Baltimore Police Department Use of Force investigation.
According to the indictment, on the day of the incident, Simpson was an aggressor as he became engaged in a physical confrontation with a private citizen. Portions of the incident were captured on Simpson’s body worn camera (hereinafter “BWC”), a grocery store closed circuit camera (hereinafter “CCTV”) and multiple cell phone cameras. As described in the indictment, in one written statement Simpson asserted, “…[W]hile conducting a business check at Live from the “A” grocery store located at 1527 Pennsylvania Avenue. As I approached the location, I observed several individuals loitering in front of the location.”
In the other written statement Simpson described, “While conducting a business check at Live from the “A” grocery store located at 1525 Pennsylvania Avenue, I advised several black males who were loitering in front to move along, because they were preventing other customers from accessing the establishment.” Video recordings from Simpson’s BWC and CCTV footage from inside the grocery store confirm there were several males loitering in front of the store. Audio captured on Simpson’s BWC shows that at no point did Simpson advise the males to “move along.”
The indictment further explains that Simpson then wrote in one of the statements, “As I attempted to go around the suspect my left shoulder inadvertently brushed his left shoulder causing me to turn and look directly at him.” In the other statement, Simpson claimed, “I attempted to go around the suspect, but my left shoulder inadvertently brushed his left shoulder. The suspect turned and faced me encroaching on personal space…” Simpson omitted a material fact in that he said “Move out the *expletive* way” when he bumped Abdullah’s shoulder. This utterance is captured on Simpson’s BWC. Simpson also omitted the material fact that he challenged the citizens by stating, “When you ready. I’ve got enough for everybody.”
The indictment details that in another use of force statement, Simpson claimed, “We engaged in a brief conversation. During this verbal exchange spittle came from the suspect’s mouth in my direction.” However, in the other written statement, Simpson said, “The suspect turned and faced me encroaching on personal space and stated ‘The word is excuse me’ as he spit in my face at the same time". The indictment states : at no time does Simpson’s BWC nor the CCTV footage show either spittle or spit coming from Abdullah’s mouth. At no time during the encounter with the citizen did Simpson claim Abdullah spit in his face. Simpson only made this allegation once Abdullah was taken into custody and a police officer on scene asked Simpson what transpired.
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