A Baltimore police sergeant is reportedly under investigation after he was seen in an Instagram video intentionally coughing near residents of a public housing complex in southeast Baltimore in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The coughing prompted a profanity laced diatribe from the woman filming the video and other people down the street, who were angry with the sergeant’s action.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement that he watched the full video and found the incident “not only disturbing, but incomprehensible,” Fox Baltimore reported.
“Members are always expected to be sensitive and professional to the community, but what we saw in the video is alarming because this pandemic is affecting lives not only nationally, worldwide, but right here in our own police department,” Harrison said.
Twelve city police officers has tested positive for COVID-19, Harrison said on Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun. More than 100 officers are under quarantine. On Saturday, the department temporarily closed its Southwestern District after an officer there tested positive. Harrison said three of the department’s confirmed cases come from the Southwestern.
In the video, the sergeant, who has not been identified, is seen approaching the woman with the camera. “Hey, officer friendly, with the cherry cheeks,” she says cheerily. But when the sergeant drew along side her, he pretended to cough and continued to do so as he walked by.
“Come here coughing like that [expletive] is cute,” she says to the sergeant. I should call the CDC on his ass and let them know he did some dirty [expletive].”
“You ain’t going to infect nobody but your coworkers.”
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said in a statement that COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, “is not a joke and this behavior is beyond unacceptable.”
“When you are in public service, it is your duty to treat everyone with respect, especially in a time where we are dealing with both a public health pandemic and a gun violence epidemic,” he said. “This is not behavior that we want our police officers or any of our public servants to model to our residents.”
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[Featured image: Screenshot from Instagram video]