Officer started a fight with a citizen, then lied about it in sworn statements
Baltimore, Md. (September 14, 2021) - Yesterday, Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Officer Welton Simpson Jr., was convicted of all charges for offenses that occurred while he was a BPD Officer on January 17, 2020 including, False Statement to Law Enforcement and one count of Misconduct in Office. Simpson faces up to six months in prison for the False Statement conviction. There is no maximum sentence for Misconduct in Office. It is a common-law crime which carries no sentencing limit except that it cannot be cruel and unusual. Simpson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 21, 2021. Officer Simpson is currently suspended from BPD.
This conviction stems from an investigation led by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Public Trust and Police Integrity Unit, Evidence Review Unit, and BPD’s Body Worn Camera Division and the Internal Affairs Division. Assistant State's Attorneys Alex Rodriguez and Ernest Reitz prosecuted this case.
“This conviction demonstrates our commitment to ensuring one standard of justice for all - regardless of one’s race, sex, religion, or occupation. As administrators of the criminal justice system, we are committed to protecting public safety and the well-being of everyone in our community,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
On January 17, 2020, Officer Simpson was entering a grocery store when he initiated an altercation with a private citizen, Mr. Abdullah. Simpson swore at the citizen and then deliberately bumped his shoulder against Abdullah. A physical altercation, initiated by Simpson, broke out and resulted in Mr. Abdullah’s unwarranted arrest.
The evidence revealed that Sgt. Simpson had initially believed that his Body Worn Camera (BWC) did not capture the incident. However, it was later discovered that his camera had continued running after the completion of a prior vehicle stop. Sgt. Simpson was not aware that the BWC was activated and that it had captured the initial portions of the encounter.
When officers arrived on the scene, Sgt. Simpson relayed to a Sergeant that Mr. Abdullah spit on and pushed Sgt. Simpson, that Sgt. Simpson pushed Mr. Abdullah back and then the fight was on. This statement was captured on the Sergeant’s BWC. As a result of these false statements, officers arrested and charged Mr. Abdullah. The recovered BWC revealed that the statements offered by Sgt. Simpson were not true.
In written statements, Officer Simpson tried to cover up his initiation of the altercation by omitting the fact that he told Abdullah to “Move out the *expletive* way” when he bumped Abdullah’s shoulder. He also omitted the material fact that he challenged the other citizens present by stating, “When you ready. I’ve got enough for everybody.” Simpson also lied by claiming Abdullah spat at him, when there was no evidence of that on BWC, CCTV or Citiwatch footage. Simpson also claimed that he had previously “advised several black males who were loitering in front to move along, because they were preventing other customers from accessing the establishment.” Audio captured on Simpson’s BWC shows that when Sgt. Simpson exited his vehicle and prior to pushing past Mr. Abdullah, Sgt. Simpson did not advise any of the male individuals standing in front of the store to “move along.”