"I am going to pursue that, at least talk to the prosecutor's office to see if this is a case of charges to be filed," he said. "At minimum, there was a battery committed on an officer."WRTV first broke the story last Friday. Public Safety Director Frank Straub and the FOP expressed outrage at the incident but no criminal charges have been filed in the case. Rank and file police officers are even more outraged by the inaction of their superiors. Straub says the case is still under investigation.
Authorities said the staged altercation was staged by James Harrington, a pastor at Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church.
Sgt. Matthew Grimes was asked to speak at the anti-violence symposium, but unbeknownst to the officer, Harrington had arranged for a fake altercation in the crowd.
Grimes responded to the fight, and his back was injured as he tried to get two men to stop fighting, police said.
Harrington said the scenario was an effort to test the officer's response to an argument involving two black men.
This is the how the incident in question was described in WRTV's initial report:
Sgt. Matthew Grimes was asked to give a presentation to a church audience on July 24 at Municipal Gardens, in the 1800 block of Lafayette Road.
During the presentation, an altercation broke out in the crowd, and Grimes intervened. The officer was thrown to the ground and drew his Taser, ready to stun one of the people involved, police said.
At that point, someone stepped in and told the officer that the incident had been concocted to test the reaction of the officer to the situation, police said. Grimes suffered severe back spasms after the incident and was taken to Methodist Hospital for treatment.
James Harrington, pastor of the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, said he set up the scenario to test a white officer's reaction to a fight between two black men.
"Their job is to protect and serve, and even though they have families and children, that they don't put any regard to their safety," Harrington said. "I don't think it was dangerous because it was in a controlled environment."
Harrington denied that the officer was injured.