Wednesday July 22, 2015

Baltimore ex-cop Michael Wood attests to police brutality, racism

The Baltimore Police Department shot to infamy after Freddie Gray's death earlier this year. His death, following a rough ride in the back of a police van, sparked riots. Now, a former Baltimore sergeant, Micheal Wood Jr., is speaking out about his decade on the force, and the pattern of ugly police behaviour he says he witnessed on the job -- long before Freddie Gray.

The Baltimore Police Department shot to infamy after Freddie Gray's death earlier this year. His death, following a rough ride in the back of a police van, sparked riots. Now, a former Baltimore sergeant, Micheal Wood Jr., is speaking out about his decade on the force, and the pattern of ugly police behaviour he says he witnessed on the job -- long before Freddie Gray. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Listen 19:26

"That's all it's about. Hiding behind that blue uniform and that badge. No accountability. None whatsoever. No culpability. Why is my son dead? He didn't just die of a heart attack!"

- Diane Buttler, Aunt to Tyrone West who died after being arrested by police
Screaming in the Dark image 4

Baltimore's Tyrone West, who died after being arrested by police in July 2013.

Diane Butler still wants to know why her nephew -- whom she calls her son -- died after an encounter with the Baltimore Police Department.

Tyrone West was pulled over in a traffic stop two years ago this month. He was left dead after multiple officers arrived and struggled to arrest him. None of the officers involved has been charged.

As his family seeks answers, they blame a code of silence that they say stands between them and justice.

Earlier this year, we brought you a documentary, "Screaming in the Dark," about Tyrone West's death. Have a listen.

Tryone West's death has taken on new notoriety since the high profile case of Freddie Grey, who died in custody earlier this year after rough treatment by the same Baltimore P.D. 

And now, one former sergeant with that force is breaking the silence.     

Michael Wood retired in 2014 due to an injury. Now, he has started tweeting about some of the ugly things he says he saw and participated in ... in his decade on the job --- well before Freddie Grey. He joined us from Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.
 


We requested to speak with someone from the Baltimore Police Department. The department declined. But they did send us a statement:

The recent allegations made by Mr. Michael Wood are serious and very troubling.  We hope that during his time as both a sworn member and as a sergeant with supervisory obligations, that Mr. Wood reported these disturbing allegations at the time of their occurrence.  If he did not, we strongly encourage him to do so now, so that our Internal Affairs Division can begin an immediate investigation. We implore Mr. Wood or anyone else with knowledge of such acts to contact our Internal Affairs Division at 410-396-2300. 


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This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.
 

RELATED LINKS

♦ Ex-Baltimore officer tweets about alleged police brutality - CBC News
Ex-cop accuses Baltimore police of corruption - NY Daily News
♦ Baltimore's police brutality nightmare - Salon