Baltimore officer indicted on assault, misconduct charges

Justin George

The Baltimore Sun

Body camera footage helped a grand jury indict a Baltimore police officer who investigators say used unnecessary force to make an arrest.

Donald B. Gaff, a three-and-a-half-year veteran, faces assault and misconduct charges in the Sept. 11 incident near East Patapsco Avenue, police said.

Police said he used “unjustified force” but provided no details Friday on the case, including the type of force Gaff was said to have used.

Internal investigators were doing a “routine review” of body camera footage, when they saw the alleged abuse. The detectives presented their findings to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Gaff’s police powers have been suspended, police said. He was assigned to the Southern District.

“This incident again demonstrates our capacity and willingness to hold police officers engaged in misconduct accountable,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement. “His actions do not represent the professionalism exhibited by the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department on a daily basis.”

Police said they will not release the footage of the incident, and have turned it over to prosecutors.

A call to Baltimore police union president Lt. Gene Ryan was not immediately returned Friday afternoon, and no attorney was listed in court records representing Gaff.

In January 2015, Gaff fatally shot a man at a child’s birthday party in the 1900 block of McHenry Street after he was flagged down by a resident. Police said a man was carrying a knife at the party and threatening to stab people. After being asked to drop the knife, police said, Gaff shot him once in the upper chest, killing him.

In that case, then-deputy police commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said Gaff had “courageously” confronted the man and was in the “right place at the right time.”

“I think it’s safe to say that through the officer’s quick actions and the fact that the officer was deployed here and was able to quickly respond, this scene could’ve been a lot different,” Rodriguez said at the time.


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