Maryland Officer Pistol Whips Teen, Accidentally Discharges Weapon, and Then Charges Teen With Assaulting Him

The video below has led to the dropping of charges against Ryan Dorm, 19, after four months in jail. Dorm was charged by Cpl. Donald Taylor who said that Dorm attacked him. However, the video shows that Taylor ran up to Dorm and struck him with his gun, which discharged – in full view of another officer.

According to news accounts, Dorm and a friend were at a “Lowest Price” gas station convenience store in Maryland when police became suspicious about his friend wearing a ski mask. Dorm said it was cold and his friend was wearing the mask for warmth. When police approached, Dorm said he decided to take off. The video shows Taylor running after him and hitting him with his gun without any provocation or justification.

Dorm is now suing for millions of dollars and Taylor is currently facing misconduct, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault charges.

Here’s my problem. An undercover officer appears to be accompanying Taylor. If not, it was a witness who was facing Dorm and Taylor at the time in close proximity. Why was the video necessary to clear Dorm? Did this officer or witness also file a false report? If so, where are the charges against him? Clearly, Taylor had lied about the assault and the second man could not have missed the fact that Dorm was struck by Taylor first. We have previously discussed how, even when officers are found to have brought unsupported or false charges, they are rarely punished and, when such punishment is meted out after public outcry, witnessing officers are rarely punished for their own failure to step forward.

A knowingly false arrest charge should be the basis for a mandatory termination of an officer and likely criminal charges for a false statement. I can understand how some officers misconstrue an action as a crime. However, this was a case of outright falsification by the officer. The police have not explained the apparent nonfeasance of the other officer. Indeed, we have not heard anything about the second officer’s incident report. Presumably, if the other officer gave the true account, no charges would have been filed — let alone the incarceration of this man for four months.

Source: Washington Post

37 thoughts on “Maryland Officer Pistol Whips Teen, Accidentally Discharges Weapon, and Then Charges Teen With Assaulting Him”

  1. Don’t they teach cops that when pistol-whipping somebody, you put your finger *behind* the trigger? You maintain a good grip on the gun that way, and you prevent it from firing. Sheesh.

  2. Dorm was just swaggering (drunk or uppity?), he was not running.

    But, a big BUT, he should be very glad that the bullet did not end up where it did on Martin from Zimmerman.
    Then the officer would have to have his buddy officer
    to cut him with his car keys on the back of his head and give him a couple of licks before calling it in.

    Self-defense! No sweat. He’d get a commendation and a pay raise and a cruise as compensation for his murder of an expendable.

    What new hires? To the police force? Now that was good instruction on ethics. What other advice do you give.

    PS Why was this video not erased? Sloppy DA.

  3. “.. the other suspended officer remains on administrative duties, though the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office has indicated that he will not be criminally charged, nor will any other officers. ”

    from the newspaper at the time of the arrest which suggests the story that was told by the officers:

    A Prince George’s County police officer shot at a robbery suspect Friday night in Brentwood after the suspect reached for the officer’s gun, authorities said.

    Cpl. Henry Tippett, a Prince George’s County police spokesman, said the officer fired once but did not hit the suspect. He said the suspect stopped trying to reach for the gun after a shot was fired, and he was taken into custody.

    The incident began about 9:40 p.m., when officers working near Rhode Island Avenue and 38th Street saw two people — one wearing a mask — go into the Lowest Price Gas station convenience store, authorities said. Suspecting a possible holdup, the officers went to intervene, authorities said.

    Tippett said the masked man man swung at an officer and ran away. He said the officer chased the man, and when he caught up, the man reached for the officer’s gun. That’s when the officer fired, Tippett said.

    Police said Ryan Keith Dorm, 19, of Cottage City was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree assault and attempt to disarm a law enforcement officer. The officer, a 13-year-veteran, was placed on administrative leave, which is routine when an officer discharges a firearm.

    Tippett said the other person who entered the convenience store did not run from officers, and he has not been charged with any crimes. He declined to identify the officer who fired, saying the department usually waits until 24 hours after a shooting to do so.

  4. Mr. Schwarz,
    Did it occur to you that avoiding jury service will leave the jury venire stacked with the authoritarian types that lap up anything a cop testifys to, no matter how hinky and implausible. Maybe your healthy cynicism and belief in your gut would contibute to a more fair and representative jury. Certain jurors disposed to authoritarianism will wait to be told by the cops what their eyes are seeing in the objectively damning video that happened to catch them in the act of brutalizing a citizen. Rodney King’s assailants after all were acquited on state charges. I think that the judicial system is not well served when you disqualify yourself. I think it contributes to the cops institutional belief that they are the law and can do what ever they damn well please with impunity.
    Regards, Lexmanifesta

  5. And why did the public defender assigned to this defendant not immediately get this dealt with legally and properly? Huh? Huh?

  6. Looks to me like Dorm walked away, he didn’t run. The officer is facing charges. “Taylor is currently facing misconduct, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault charges.”

  7. Oh, and American taxpayers will end up footing the bill for this armed assault.
    I bet both officers get a paid vacation and a little lecture and then will be out on the streets in no time as if nothing out of the ordinary happened…

  8. There are armed thugs attacking innocent people on the streets of America.

    When will we erase that thin blue line?

  9. A glaring aspect of the assault is uncommented: modern semi-automatic handguns will not fire unless one’s finger is on the trigger. Thus the officer was either criminally negligent with gun safety, or there was intent to fire when the assault occurred.

  10. The first officer should be terminated. If the second officer, did not report the truth to his superiors, he should be terminated. If the second officer did report the truth to his superiors, then a full investigation should be performed and, at the highest level, where the truth was suppressed, that officer should be terminated. The City should be forced to pay millions in punitive to be sure that folks in charge get the message – that is the only message they understand.

    I was selected for jury duty a couple of years back on a Felony DWI case. I was excused because I told the Judge that I simply would never believe a police officer nor a prosecutor – and, I know that the evidence I would see as a juror would be filtered by both defense and prosecution according to silly procedural rules. Therefore, as a juror, I would have to “go with my gut” regardless of any instruction by the judge to the contrary.

    I no longer believe anything I hear from anyone in any official capacity.

  11. I agree with Barkin Dog.
    This guy was obviously running because he was scared. If some fool with a gun was running after me I would instinctively run too.
    Why was a gun drawn anyway, having a friend in a face mask in cold weather certainly was not a clear and present danger to the officers life. The Police should face maximum charges and penalties for this crime.This blue wall of silence needs to be brought down. I have the greatest admiration for good cops, but these guys are criminals plain and simple, and should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
    How does the police department expect to be respected when many cops act as though they are above the law. Cops don’t write tickets for speeding, red lights, aggressive driving etc. to other cops. Where in the law is “Professional Courtesy” allowed. People will have more respect for the law when the bad cops also have to respect it. Respect is earned not a professional right. Thank God for the cameras, maybe they will help negate this lawlessness on the part of the lawmen.

  12. There are at least two Law Enforcement Offenders here that need to be prosecuted for their crimes. The amount of time that the victim spent in jail would be the minimum for each of these Leos.

  13. Whenever I interview a new hire, one of the things I tell them is to keep in mind there are now video cameras everywhere. Not to mention that practically every 15-year-old in the country has a cell phone camera and knows how to upload to the Internet in real time.

    Then I show them a few videos like this one. One of my questions is always, “Do you want to be known for being the person who became a viral YouTube star because of something stupid you did?

  14. The TV report stated that the officer “shot Dorm” which to me sounded like the bullet went into him. They cut the video off after the blow though so I am not sure (and given the quality of TV news there is no guessing).

    It also does not look as if the guy is running but he could have stopped running before the video portion shown. Either way it is obviously an assault by the officer.

    You know, two-three more of these filmed attacks by police followed by false reports and it may be difficult to get juries to believe everything the cop on the stand says!

  15. That is a disturbing video and I agree that the officer should be terminated. I also agree that the witness/officer who was right there should have told the truth. I wonder where the bullet that was discharged ended up?

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