Justice

Former Baltimore Cop Speaks Out About Shocking Corruption on Twitter

A former Baltimore police officer and U.S. Marine veteran took to Twitter Wednesday to detail multiple cases of alleged abuse and misconduct that he witnessed working for the Baltimore Police Department. This comes the same day that Maryland medical officers released an autopsy report of Freddie Gray's death and found that officers failed to follow safety procedures "through acts of omission." Six officers are currently facing criminal charges after Gray died in police custody, igniting days of protest and unrest in Baltimore. 

"So here we go," wrote Michael A. Wood Jr., who said he "virtually begged local media to give [him] a voice" before turning to social media to brazenly detail cases of violent officer abuse and procedural misconduct he witnessed in 11 years on the force. "I'm going to start Tweeting the things I've seen & participated in, in policing that is corrupt, intentional or not." 

Wood has a history of speaking out about his time on the force, and provided links on his Twitter account to a story about him, as well as a "startlingly candid" radio interview he recently gave. A BPD spokesperson told the Huffington Post that Wood retired from the force in 2014.

If his previous outspokenness flew somewhat under the radar, Wood seemed surprised at the flurry of attention his admissions garnered on Twitter and from national media outlets. "I'm shocked anyone is actually listening this time," he wrote shortly after publishing the Tweets in question. 

In a radio interview following the death of Freddie Gray, Wood accused the BPD of instigating the riots, and that officers had an "ingrained" sense that leads them to treat Black people as "thems," he said. 

"Even if the police feel as though they did nothing wrong. How many residents were arrested in the white neighborhoods with spring-assisted pocket knives?... I have a suspicion that the number is right around zero," he said. 

Wood's revelations come the same day Vice News published a new report detailing how federal officials found the BPD's claims that local gangs had united to "take out" officers after Gray's death to be "non-credible," backing up interviews  gang members gave to local media at the time. The report, which relied on Department of Homeland Security intelligence documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, also illuminated how fearful the federal government was of the escalating protests in Baltimore after Gray's death. Documents showed that more than 400 Federal Protection Service officers and FPS protective security officers were on duty there, in addition to 1,783 National Guard troops in Baltimore City, more than 400 state troopers, and around 500 law enforcement officers from at least two states and the state capitol.