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Viral video filmed uptown leads to investigation

2 March 2014 By Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief No Comments

A video involving Baltimore County Police in downtown Towson went viral this week, prompting the Baltimore County Police Department to launch an investigation into the conduct of the officers caught on film making an arrest.

The video shows officers arresting two people on York Road across the street from the Towson Commons building. During the filming, the officers asked the person recording to stop and leave.

“I’m allowed to do this,” cameraman and student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Sergio Gutierrez, can be heard saying.

“Get out of my face,” the officer says back at Gutierrez.

“I have my rights,” Gutierrez told the officer.

Gutierrez did not stop filming, and was approached by the officer a second time.

“Do you see the police presence here? Do you see us all? We’re not [expletive] around. Do you understand? Do not disrespect us and do not not listen to us,” the officer said. “Now walk away and shut your [expletive] mouth or you’re going to jail, do you understand?”

Gutierrez then said that he had his “freedom of speech” to film. The officer then told him that he had lost that right.

After the video made national headlines, the Baltimore County Police Department announced that they were launching an investigation into the incident.

“The words of and demands to cease filming by sworn personnel and citizen volunteer auxiliary officers were incorrect, inappropriate and unnecessary,” Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said in a statement. “They were not helpful in bringing this incident to closure. As we already have stated, all aspects of this encounter are under investigation and all personnel will be held accountable for their actions.”

The officer seen in the video has been relegated to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation, according to The Baltimore Sun, but the name of the officer has not yet been released.

The officers involved were from BCPD, and some present during the arrest were Maryland State Troopers, but it was a BCPD officer that approached Gutierrez. No Towson University Police officers were present during the incident.

Towson Chief of Police Bernard Gerst said in an email that all TUPD officers are trained on the laws that allow anyone to film police officers making arrests in public locations.

“Yes, members of the Towson University Police Department are aware of the public’s right to video tape in a public place. I and the patrol bureau commander have reinforced that message at roll calls with our officers this week,” Gerst said in the email.

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