(WATCH) Baltimore Police Officer Sucker Punches Citizen, Man Files $35M Brutality Suit

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(WATCH) Baltimore Police Officer Sucker Punches Citizen, Man Files $35M Brutality Suit
by JC Sevcik
Source: upi.com

BALTIMORE, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Recently released surveillance footage shows a Baltimore police officer repeatedly punching a man in the face during an alleged wrongful arrest.

Kollin Truss, 32, has filed a brutality suit for $35 million.

On June 15, Truss was arrested by Officer Vincent E. Cosom and charged with misdemeanors including assault, resisting arrest, intoxication and disorderly conduct.

According to Cosom's report, an inebriated Truss assaulted Coleman; when he approached Truss an altercation ensued. But Coleman tells the Baltimore Sun, "He lied."

Cosom stated Truss then "got into a fighting stance and clenched his fist." According to Cosom, this made him fear for his life and so he fought the drunk Truss.

Footage from a City of Baltimore surveillance camera, however, contradicts Cosom's account.

The video, sans audio, shows Truss and his then-girlfriend, Stephanie Coleman, exiting a liquor store. 
Cosom stands in Truss' path and the two exchange tense words that appear to escalate into a verbal altercation.

Coleman steps between the two men. Cosom, grabbing Coleman's arm, physically pushes her behind Truss to re-engage the conflict.

Coleman pulls Truss away as another officer arrives, and the two walk away from the confrontation, Truss not appearing physically threatening.

A second camera angle shows Cosom has followed Truss to a nearby bus stop. Coleman again places herself between the officer and Truss. Cosom quickly steps around Coleman and swings, striking Truss with a series of blows to the head.

The second officer steps in, grabs Truss, and restrains him as Cosom delivers a quick succession of savage uppercuts to Truss' face. Truss gets off one punch in retaliation.

A third officer arrives. Coleman steps between Cosom and Truss, who is still being restrained and is not fighting back. Cosom hops around like a boxer in a ring. Coleman shields Truss with her entire body.

The third officer violently pushes Coleman out of the way, and the two get into a shoving match. The third officer keeps Coleman at bay as Cosom and the second officer handcuff Truss and place him under arrest.

The lawsuit filed by Truss' attorneys, Ivan J. Bates and Tony N. Garcia, claims the city's Central Booking and Intake Center refused to process Truss for admission until he received medical attention, forcing officers to take him to Mercy Medical Center for treatment.

"This attack was completely unprovoked and served no legitimate law enforcement purpose," Truss' attorneys wrote in a complaint filed in Baltimore Circuit Court.

"It was a very vicious attack that was uncalled for and was unwarranted," said Bates.

"There's a pattern here. First, these officers are stripping our clients of their dignity, their rights, then charging them with an assault that they themselves have perpetrated," Garcia told local news channel WBLA, adding, "This is not Baltimore justice, it's Baltimore horror."

"There are a number of good Baltimore police officers; however, the ones that are vicious and violent and are terrorizing the community -- they need to go," said Bates.

Baltimore Police released a statement Monday saying the case currently being investigated by Internal Affairs.

"Like the public I'm shocked and outraged nothing that I saw on the video is defensible," Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said at a news conference Tuesday.

"This will not be tolerated," Batts added.

Cosom has been placed on paid administrative leave.

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