Baltimore Man Sues Police After Videotape Shows An Unprovoked Attack By Officer

bs-md-ci-police-suit-20140915-00210710945_593771287397979_8231406189727835408_nThere is now a lawsuit filed seeking damages in the beating of Kollin Truss by Baltimore police, as shown vividly by the video below released by this attorney. The video is highly disturbing and shows Officer Vincent E. Cosom striking Truss without any apparent provocation and then followed by other officers.

Officer Vincent E. Cosom argued before the arrest in the early hours of June 15 outside a liquor store. However, a woman with Truss is seen separating the two and leading Truss away. Truss continued to walk away but police clearly decided to arrest him. Cosom in his report said that he twice asked Truss to leave the area but that Truss answered with a profanity and said “I’ll see you when I get outside.” Cosum said that Truss “pushed the female with open hands three times” and that Truss He adopted a fighting stance and clenched a fist. He wrote in his report: “Me and the male got into a physical altercation due to me being in fear of my safety, and I received a punch to the body.”

However, the video below shows Truss had a bag in one hand and the woman was holding his other arm as they paused near a bus stop. Cosom stepped around a group of bystanders before attacking Truss.

Cosom, a six-year veteran, is named in the lawsuit.

Truss was hit with a series of charges — a pattern that we have seen in past abusive arrests where charges are piled on (creating pressure for a plea and discouraging any lawsuit). Notably, the officers were denied booking until they took Truss to the hospital. Later, prosecutors dropped all charges.

Later however investigators concluded that Truss’s injuries were the result of his felling and they cleared the other officers. There is no mention of what these officers reported. We often see in these cases that there is a rarely any attention to the obligation of officers to come forward to report abuse or attention to the lack of any contradiction from officers (with the narrative of the central officer) in documented cases of abuse.

Cosom remains on duty.

Source: Baltimore Sun

30 thoughts on “Baltimore Man Sues Police After Videotape Shows An Unprovoked Attack By Officer”

  1. Having reviewed the information here, I believe Officer Cosom should be charged with assault. The claim that he feared for his safety is baseless as evidenced by his aggressive action leading up to the assault.

    If there was or was not probable cause to arrest Mr. Truss before the assault at the bus stop I am not privy to this information so I am not going to argue it. I will assume from the sake of argument that there was for some crime before this. But even if there was PC to arrest for a crime before the bus stop, the actions by Officer Cosom constituted a use of force well above what would have been needed to effectuate an arrest.

    From the actions I have witnessed of him striding around the other bystanders , his demeanor, and launching a boxer attack against Mr. Truss is instigated by anger and aggression on the part of Officer Cosom and not a reasonable amount of force to arrest him.

    There was no display or mention whatever of Mr. Tuss having a weapon, so a high level of aggressive force is not warranted. Furthermore, the repeated punching is not a method conducive toward bringing a suspect under control. Far better control methods were not used. This indicated further anger and revenge as the primary motivator than using tried and tested means to gain compliance and control.

    There is something to be said about having bystanders who are known to a belligerent suspect to attempt to calm him down. Sometimes allowing this to happen for a while works and I think that was being done to some degree, but when the time came for Mr. Tuss to be physically arrested there were sufficient officers there to use ordinary means to cuff him up.

    Officer Cosom was so out of control in his rage that he actually bumped the other officer who stepped in. The other officer had a far better control of the suspect than Officer Cosom used. The other officer’s control methods, for illustrative purposes for the reader, are an example of how to better control a suspect, and less injurious by far. To those who say that this officer should have stopped Officer Cosom from attacking Tuss, that might have been difficult for him given his position. I do not at all believe he aided Cosom in the assault if anyone asks. If he did not report the assault in his report, that would be another matter and also would be unacceptable. Something like this MUST be reported, and anyone not doing so is complicit in that regard.

    As to the suggestion by Officer Cosom being struck in the body by Mr. Tuss, I see where Tuss has his arm against the lower abdomen of Cosom. In light of being tossed about by being repeatedly punched, I have a hard time accepting that this was an assault against officer Cosom in the sense I cannot see this act as being in the very least injurious to the officer.

    Some have mentioned the glove issue. A couple things that might not be understood are that suspects can have some real nasty things on their person, blood, pathogens, etc. I am not saying Mr. Tuss has any of these but it is generally more hygienic to not have to touch these if possible and as a habit many officers, including myself formerly, would occasionally wear gloves if dealing with someone who is sweaty etc. Plus, if the person is, it can make holding on to them more difficult. Once in a while a suspect will be a biter and the hands are usually what they target. They can also help prevent injury to the hands from scrapes and other issues. Intimidation is not the motive for police using gloves.

    I think it would be in the best interest of the city to arrive at a settlement. I cannot see it prevailing in a lawsuit.

  2. He might not be on duty much longer. The police commissioner has come on and said that what he saw on that film was horrible and he’s really mad about it.

  3. I would make the cop pee in the little cup to see what he was on. He was really trying to ‘tune’ the guy up. The cop putting his gloves on is a clear tip-off something was about to happen.

  4. @shafarnullifdian,

    Yes, for 60 years – 35 of those as a trial lawyer who has cross-examined plenty of cops.

    Basic principle of human nature: People usually have reasons for the things they do, and truly random and unprovoked attacks rarely happen.

    Note I did not say”justified”. I said “unprovoked”.

  5. Let me guess…
    … The good cop was the one doing the holding down or was the good cop the one stepping back putting on his gloves?

  6. Well, I think people are just picking on Officer Cosom because he is black. Plus, he didn’t use a gun like white officers so often do. And he didn’t shoot somebody’s dog. No, this is just racism and white privilege and. . .

    Oh, where am I ??? I think I was just possessed by some liberal editorial writer. Never mind.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. Reblogged this on veritasusa and commented:
    Police are not entitled to beat you, taze you, arrest you and charge you with multiple crimes, often costing you your job, thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees, medical bills, lost wages – potentially face eviction and collection actions, destroy your credit for 7 years, and make it tough for you to find another job because of your new “police record” – all for being rude, insulting, having a bad attitude, or the wrong sex, color, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. But beat or taze first, arrest and justify afterwards seems to be the preferred method of stress relief for FAR TOO many officers these days. Perhaps PTSD runs rampant in the ranks or something, but these guys need help or new careers – and WE THE PEOPLE – need to stop looking the other way and simply accepting this because “it only happens to criminals” – it doesn’t; it happens to the innocent and law abiding all the time..

    The militarized, hyperviolent model of policing has to come to an end. We need a return to “Protect and Serve” from “Patrol and Incarcerate”

  8. Police are not entitled to beat you, taze you, arrest you and charge you with multiple crimes, often costing you your job, thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees, medical bills, lost wages – potentially face eviction and collection actions, destroy your credit for 7 years, and make it tough for you to find another job because of your new “police record” – all for being rude, insulting, having a bad attitude, or the wrong sex, color, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. But beat or taze first, arrest and justify afterwards seems to be the preferred method of stress relief for FAR TOO many officers these days. Perhaps PTSD runs rampant in the ranks or something, but these guys need help or new careers – and WE THE PEOPLE – need to stop looking the other way and simply accepting this because “it only happens to criminals” – it doesn’t; it happens to the innocent and law abiding all the time..

    The militarized, hyperviolent model of policing has to come to an end. We need a return to “Protect and Serve” from “Patrol and Incarcerate”

  9. @stepheng 2010
    RE: I find it hard to believe that absolutely nothing transpired between cop and plaintiff prior to the beating. A truly random attack flies in the face of human nature.
    You’ve obviously been on this planet a day or two, right?

  10. On the one hand it appears that from the beginning, Truss was drunk and belligerent to the officer. However, if a police officer loses control due to words only then he or she should not be a police officer. Truss could have easily been taken in for being drunk and disorderly or whatever. The bottom line on the public’s side is not to disrespect the police. The bottom line on the side of the police is to remain in control. The officer was obviously not in control. If he gets off, then this will stand as an unfortunate benchmark for police.

  11. I hope the guy wins and that the officer is held responsible as well as the city. I further think that in situations like this that any future employment for Cosom should result in the city garnishing his wages until the city is fully compensated for it loss.

  12. Baltimore PD Officer Vincent E. Cosom is such a highly trained thug.

    Did he learn how to throw hay-makers during his time at the police academy while studying conflict resolution/deescalation?

    How very professional.

    Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent ~ Issac Asminov

  13. They are obviously arguing about something. I’d speculate there were insults (crime?). The woman did a good job of separating them but the officers would not let it go.

  14. I find it hard to believe that absolutely nothing transpired between cop and plaintiff prior to the beating. A truly random attack flies in the face of human nature.

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