By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
A video of a Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officer allegedly coughing intentionally near city residents has sparked strong reactions from leaders.
The video shows the officer, who has not yet been identified, coughing as he walks by residents of a public housing community.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said he immediately forwarded the disturbing video to BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison for investigation.
This unidentified Baltimore police officer was captured on video coughing in close proximity to residents of the Perkins Homes public housing community in Southeast Baltimore. (Screengrab from video)
“Today I was made aware of a video of a Baltimore Police Officer deliberately coughing at a resident as he walked by,” said Scott in a statement.
#BREAKING: @BaltimorePolice spokesperson just confirmed to me a Baltimore police sergeant is under investigation after a video circulating on social media showed him coughing near residents at a Baltimore housing project. **Apologies for the language in the video. @WMAR2News pic.twitter.com/bC1p6oDqhE
— Ray Strickland (@realraystrick) April 7, 2020
“COVID-19 is not a joke and this behavior is beyond unacceptable. When you are in public service, it is your duty to treat everyone with respect, especially when we are dealing with both a public health pandemic and a gun violence epidemic.”
Kobi Little, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP said he wants the officer removed from public contact.
“We urge Commissioner Harrison to make an immediate statement today, 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,” Little said in a statement.
“The officer must immediately be pulled from contact with the public and subsequently held accountable for his actions.”
As of April 7, COVID-19 has caused at least 12,400 deaths in the United States and more than 100 deaths in the state of Maryland.