April 10, 2020
Baltimore Police Officer Under Investigation for Purposely Coughing on Black Public Housing Residents
With the fear and panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, people are looking for ways to protect themselves against the deadly virus. So when a Baltimore police officer allegedly coughed intentionally on some residents in a public housing complex, it caused concerns because of the malice he showed as he did so, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The Baltimore Police Department is investigating a video that shows a police sergeant coughing in the direction of a woman intentionally as he passes her outside the Perkins Homes housing complex in Southeast Baltimore during this frightening ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
There is a video showing the police officer walking in the direction of the woman, who is filming him, as he walks by, she says to him, “Hey, Officer Friendly, with the cherry cheeks.” The white police officer does not respond but as he continues to walk in her direction, he then appears to cough in her direction without covering his mouth. As she expresses her disgust, he just continues to walk in the path he was heading.
“After watching the full video, in its entirety, it is not only disturbing but incomprehensible, especially considering the high-level of strong and clear guidance that we have provided from the beginning, regarding COVID-19,” police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun.
“Members are always expected to be sensitive and professional to the community, but what we saw in the video is alarming because this pandemic is affecting lives not only nationally, worldwide, but right here in our own police department,” Harrison said.
Kobi Little, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said the sergeant should be held accountable for his actions to show both officers and the community that such behavior won’t be tolerated or accepted. He is calling on Harrison to condemn the sergeant’s actions, both “to the force and the public, that says that BPD has zero-tolerance for misconduct during this public health crisis and is committed to responding sensibly, compassionately and responsibly as it patrols and answers emergency calls to maintain public health and safety.”
“This incident is emblematic of the force’s failure to respect and build trust with the people of Baltimore. It is hard to justify budget increases and spy planes when the police fail to engage the public with dignity and often are themselves a danger to the public.” Little added.