The Thin Blue Line

Baltimore Police Officer Charged With Assault, Perjury After Beating Suspect

A Baltimore police officer who was caught on video beating a suspect — but remained on the job for three months until the video was publicly revealed — was criminally charged with assault and perjury, city prosecutors announced Wednesday.

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Officer Vincent E. Cosom Jr., a seven-year veteran of the force, is shown on city surveillance camera footage launching what appears to be an unprovoked attack on Kollin Truss at a bus stop on East North Avenue.

A surveillance camera operator flagged the footage on the night in June that it occurred, and prosecutors and internal affairs detectives were aware of it, but Cosom was not suspended until Truss’ attorneys made the video public last month. Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said he had not been aware of the incident until then, and suspended Cosom on Sept. 16.

In addition to second-degree assault, Cosom was charged with perjury after writing in a statement of probable cause that Truss had assaulted him. All charges against Truss were dropped after prosecutors saw the video evidence.

Although allegations of police brutality and misconduct have led to hundreds of lawsuits since 2011 and the agency’s force investigation team is looking into dozens of cases this year, criminal charges against officers — particularly for assault — are rare.

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