Baltimore, MD – A judge found a Baltimore police officer not guilty on Thursday of assault or misconduct in office when he accidentally collided with an armed suspect during a chase.
“We go to clear this corner. They ran. I chased one of them down, and when I was running because I had my stick in my hand already, so when I was running, I don’t even remember, Sergeant,” Officer Battipaglia told an official who arrived on the scene just after the altercation occurred.
The officer’s defense attorneys maintained at trial that Officer Battipaglia knocked 21-year-old Darrian Carr unconscious when the two accidentally collided as the officer chased Carr through a parking lot, WBFF reported in tweets immediately following the verdict.
Initially, attorneys for the suspect told police that he was just walking down the street when Officer Battipaglia suddenly hit him over the head with his department-issued baton (espantoon), knocking him to the ground.
However, the officer’s bodycam told a very different story, and showed that several suspects were fleeing from police.
The officer’s bodycam began just as he got out of his vehicle, and showed he had an espantoon in his right hand.
The video showed that a group of men standing on the corner began running away even before Officer Battipaglia got out of his car.
In the video, the officer chased a man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt through a parking lot.
The fleeing man ran up to a black sedan that was leaving the parking lot, and then suddenly turned and fled in the opposite direction.
In the video, it appeared that the suspect, later identified as Carr, turned and ran back toward Officer Battipaglia, and that’s when he was struck by the officer’s espantoon.
Both men were moving at full speed, and the officer said that the collision was unintentional.
Carr dropped to the ground when he was hit, and the officer stopped a couple of steps later and turned around, as if to see what had happened.
In the video, it looked as though Officer Battipaglia walked over to Carr and bent down to check on him.
When his sergeant arrived on the scene, the officer explained what had happened, and his sergeant told him to stop talking and head back to the station, according to WBFF.
Four months later, Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby pursued an indictment against Officer Battipaglia, a five year veteran of the Baltimore police force.
Marilyn Mosby is known for being the prosecutor who charged six Baltimore officers for the death of Freddie Gray. Without waiting for an investigation to be completed, or reviewing all of the details of the case, she quickly brought charges on all officers involved in the arrest, and had them arrested when there was no apparent probable cause for their arrest.
All officers were later acquitted or had charges dropped when it was clear that Mosby lacked evidence that the officers had committed any crimes.
Mosby's office has only secured convictions in only 17% of their trials.
Following charges being brought, Officer Battipaglia was suspended without pay and initially also charged with misconduct in office, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Despite the charges against the officer, the prosecutors continued to charge Carr with gun possession.
This indicates that prosecutors acknowledge that Officer Battipaglia had a lawful reason to detain and arrest Carr.
Carr entered an Alford plea on the gun possession charge, WBFF reported. An Alford plea means that the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
After rendering the verdict on Oct. 11, Judge Dana Middleton questioned the prosecution’s decision not to put Carr on the stand during the trial.
WBFF tweeted that the judge said it was difficult to tell whether he had suffered any permanent injuries without seeing him in person.