Saturday, July 2, 2022

Baltimore Police Officer With MMA Experience Instigates New Lawsuit

A Baltimore police officer that previously competed in MMA is at the center of a new lawsuit directed against the Baltimore Police Department.

According to a report from The Baltimore Sun, Sergeant Welton Simpson Jr. of the BPD appeared to be the victim in a viral cell phone video from January 2020. In the video, several people could be seen kicking the officer as he grappled with a suspect on the ground.

Simpson claimed the altercation began when someone spit at him. Zayne Abdullah and Donnell Burgess were both arrested in connection to the incident, and the video drew immediate backlash from city officials for the apparent assault of an officer.

New video footage emerged in July 2020 that indicated Simpson was actually the one who instigated the conflict. Abdullah was identified by Simpson as the individual who spit on him, but footage from the officer’s body camera showed him pushing Adbullah while also swearing at him.

The officer was subsequently convicted of misconduct and making false statements, and now both Abdullah and Burgess have sued the city’s police department. The recent lawsuit has also renewed discussion around a domestic violence case from 2010 involving Simpson and his now ex-wife.

The officer’s then-wife filed for a protective order in January 2010 due to a 2009 incident where Simpson allegedly raped her and threatened her with his service weapon. The victim ended up taking the incident to court in 2010 after she discovered a bottle of paralyzing agent that she feared her then-husband might use on her.

The court order required Simpson to have no contact with his wife and also surrender his guns for three months. The lawsuit against the BPD caused by Simpson’s actions has sparked questions about why he was allowed to remain on the city’s police force following that domestic violence case.

Simpson’s behavior has been condemned as part of a larger issue of police corruption in Baltimore. His name has been added to a list of officers with “credibility issues” kept by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. An internal investigation by the BPD regarding the January 2020 altercation remains ongoing.

Simpson has been a member of Baltimore’s police force since 2001 and is also a military veteran who previously served in Iraq. He has competed in at least one MMA bout, though it’s unclear how significant a role the sport has had in Simpson’s life.

What’s your reaction to the news of this lawsuit involving a police officer that has competed in MMA?

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