A retired Baltimore cop opened up on social media today regarding misconduct, corruption, and brutality that he reportedly witnessed while serving more than 10 years on the Baltimore police force.
New York Daily News reports that Michael A. Wood Jr., 35, a U.S. Marine and former sgt., took to Twitter to reveal horrific actions of some of his fellow police officers that he witnessed while still working as a Baltimore police officer. Wood fired a series of accusations, many of which are not surprising to the residents of Baltimore, who claim to have seen the same behavior time and time again by authorities.
“So here we go. I’m going to start Tweeting the things I’ve seen & participated in, in policing that is corrupt, intentional or not.”
Along with witnessing a cop slapping a female who bumped into him at a corner store, Wood also alleges that he has seen police officers:
- Urinate and defecate on suspects’ beds during a raid
- Illegally search “thousands” of people without justification
- Kick suspects who were handcuffed and face down
Every person in low income, especially minorities, knows all of this already. I'm not revealing anything at all, just confirming.
— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) June 24, 2015
Wood states that he doesn’t remember the names of the police officers he saw acting inappropriately, but that his tweets should reflect how numerous cops in Baltimore act as a whole.
“I’m one person relying on a flawed memory system. This is an indictment on the culture of the profession, not a witch-hunt. Sorry.”
Detective Shawn Strong of the Baltimore Police Department indicates that the matter is being looked into, but he also questioned Wood’s lack of names and willingness to wait so long before making the accusations.
Wood, however, says that police misconduct is so widespread that it was difficult to realize what was going on until he stepped away for a while.
“What’s really hard to convey is that some things are so common place, they didn’t register until I was on the other side.”
While some Twitter users accused him of being a “snitch” and part of the “filth,” most of the responses to Wood have been positive. A few people who went through the same experience of being targeted by police reached out to Wood, if nothing more than to simply let him know that they understood.
— Anne Smith (@samemniktom) June 24, 2015
Wood also received praise from other officers, including Joseph Crystal, a former detective with the Baltimore police. Crystal left the Baltimore Police Department after he claims the police turned on him after reopening the case of a suspect being beaten by authorities.
“I don’t know why he’s coming forward now, but I’m happy if it will bring him peace. I wish everyone spoke up when these things happened. If we speak up when we see abuse, we have a chance to fix it. But I understand why officers are reluctant.”
Wood retired from his duties after suffering an injury. He served with the Baltimore Police Department from 2003-2014.
Although claims of Baltimore cop brutality has been surfacing for decades, it gained worldwide attention earlier this year after Freddie Gray, 25, died while in the custody of the Baltimore police.
[Photos Courtesy of Drew Angerer/Getty Images & Michael A. Wood, Jr./Twitter]