As I noted last night, there is video of a Baltimore County police officer pushing, shoving, and cursing at a videographer attempting to videotape an arrest in Towson.
I first got an early statement from County Councilman David Marks, who represents District 5 which includes Towson and the area in the video:
Our police officers work exceptionally hard to maintain public safety in Towson and other communities, and I have nothing but the highest regard for the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department. At the same time, this video raises important questions and I have already reached out to the Department for answers. I will decline further comment until I have heard back from the Police Department.
Baltimore County Police have become aware of and are investigating a 2:24 video depicting an altercation between an officer and a male civilian in Towson.
Police have determined that the incident occurred at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, February 23, when on-duty officers witnessed a disturbance among several members of a large crowd in the 400 block of York Road. Officers at the scene included Baltimore County Police, Baltimore County Auxiliary Police and Maryland State Police; it is unclear whether other agencies also were involved.
At least two people — a male and a female — were arrested and charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, second-degree assault and drug charges.
The video shows an officer confronting a male who is filming the arrests. The person filming the incident was not arrested and has not come forward to file a complaint. BCoPD has begun an investigation of this incident and would like to talk to the person who was filming so that a complete picture of what happened can be constructed. Recognizing that a video often represents only a small part of an incident, investigators want to know more about what happened before and after the events depicted on the video.
BCoPD recognizes and respects the right of citizens to film officers on duty, in a public place, unless the person filming has violated some law or statute.
Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Sun also reported on the story:
Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman, said that state law has established that citizens have a right to film officers on duty and in public places.
“If you’re committing some other offense while you’re filming, that officer may arrest you,” Armacost said. “But we recognize and respect the right of citizens to film officers on duty in public places. It’s fairly clear cut for us.
Armacost said police do not know who made the video and have not received a formal complaint about it, but she said investigators want to interview him. “What he has to say could be helpful for us,” she said.
She also declined to identify the officer who appears on the majority of the tape, saying the investigation is “in its early stages.”
Armacost said she personally is involved in officer training that instructs supervisors that citizens are allowed to film officers. “We provide training to our people about the fact that we live in a world where cameras are ubiquitous, they’re a part of life,” she said.
Fenton’s story also fills in the background on the history and legal situation involving this issue in Maryland.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.