Former Baltimore City cop rants about bad behavior on the force via social media
BALTIMORE (WJLA) - A retired Baltimore Police Department officer came out firing on twitter, talking about bad behavior he claims he witnessed, and participated in, during his time on the force.A detective slapping a completely innocent female in the face for bumping into him, coming out of a corner chicken store.— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) June 24, 2015
The tweets went viral and got a lot of people talking, with some calling him a hero while others labeled him a snitch. After a series of tweets Wednesday, Sergeant Michael Wood's Twitter following went from just a few hundred to nearly 9,000. It’s obvious something he said struck a nerve.
In tweets Wednesday, Wood claims he witnessed a serious of bad acts, including officers who urinated and defecated on suspects’ beds during raids. He also claims he saw an officer kicking a handcuffed suspect.
“I didn't realize I was revealing anything,” Wood told ABC7, “I thought all this was stuff that was previously known and I was confirming it.”Summonsing officers who weren't there so they could collect the overtime.— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) June 24, 2015
Wood won't confirm specific details about his tweets, providing no dates or names for the situations he tweeted. But he shared claims that officers routinely searched individuals without cause and also targeted young black men for arrest. It’s shocking behavior the former officer from the Western District of Baltimore says he witnessed. He calls it a dark corner of police culture that needs to be exposed
“I didn't see that those same social injustices were also what we were doing to the citizens until I got to the other side of the badge. I started to think, how would I want police responding to me. Why I didn't think of that before is excuse-less,” Wood said.Targeting 16-24 year old black males essentially because we arrest them more, perpetrating the circle of arresting them more.— Michael A. Wood Jr. (@MichaelAWoodJr) June 24, 2015
Wood says he has regrets, not just about what he saw, but also about what he did during his 11 years as an officer. Wood admits he didn't speak up then. So why now? We specifically asked him why he didn’t stand up and inform department officials of misconduct during his time with the BPD. He said, “I acknowledge the criticism. It's valid. I didn't see it. It's a terrible excuse, a poor excuse. But it's like you're at war and that's the other opponent.”
That “Us versus Them” mentality, Wood believes, has created a racial divide in Baltimore. But it’s one he thinks the police department could close if it shifted toward more empathetic policing. It's an approach he wishes he'd used.
“It's just acknowledging these things and recognizing them myself. Some of these things I might have seen myself. I just didn't see it,” said Wood.
The officer, who says he retired after a shoulder injury he got on the job, indicated he would testify if a victim involved in one of the scenarios he tweeted about came forward. ABC7 and our sister station in Baltimore, WBFF, repeatedly asked the Baltimore Police Department for reaction to Wood’s claims and comment on their legitimacy. We did not hear back. ABC7 also contacted the Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore for comment. They did not return emails sent to multiple individuals.