Lee Dotson saw two Baltimore officers force a man to sit on a sidewalk inundated with rain and decided to speak.
"This soil was wet, dude," said Dotson on May 30, as he passed by the scene and moved away into Ashton Street, southwest of Baltimore.
Sgt. Ethan Newberg described Dotson as "combative" in early reports. But the video footage broadcast on Friday tells a radically different story.
Newberg ran, grabbed Dotson by the arm and tried to get him down before another officer attacked the passerby on the sidewalk and handcuffed him around his wrists, according to the camera's images. officer's body.
This video involved the sequence of events described by Newberg in his reporting, which had led to the arrest of the former officer in an incident among so many who affected the department. with what Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has described as "horrible culture" of excessive force.
Harrison said Friday that "the officer is tarnishing the badge we all wear," reported the Baltimore Sun.
Newberg said in a report that Dotson was "combative and aggressive," Harrison said at a press conference on June 6. Documents also show that officers described Dotson as an incitement to a hostile crowd while fighting with them, according to the Sun.
Harrison, however, removed Newberg from the force after viewing the videos, describing Dotson as "moving away calmly after expressing his opinion".
Newberg, a veteran of the force for 24 years, has been charged with second degree assault, illegal imprisonment and misconduct. His lawyer, Joseph Murtha, did not respond to a request for comment, but criticized the publication of the film before Newberg's trial, the Sun reported.
Due to overtime, Newberg earned $ 243,000 last year – more than the mayor, the Sun reported. He was suspended without pay.
The rush to stop Dotson seemed to surprise all participants.
The man initially arrested and then released on the spot stood up to watch, while the anonymous policeman who was watching him rushed to join the fray. Dotson, released without charge, did not understand why Newberg had accused him from behind.
"I'm not running away," said Dotson, looking over his shoulder. Both officers have mastered it. "I'm chasing you," shouted Dotson, asking passers-by to record the current arrest. "You are all crazy. . . . I did not do anything for you, freedom of speech, "he said, informing the police of the violation of his constitutional rights.
After the arrival of other officers, Dotson debated with the aftermath of the events and asked why he had been taken to jail.
"Go to jail and take charge like a man," said Newberg.
Dotson asked again.
"Because you do not know how to act," said Newberg.
Newberg continued to be agitated until another officer from a separate unit told him to relax.
"Leave my scene," said Newberg. "Never tell me how to do my job."
The second officer involved was suspended with treatment, Harrison said, and the other man involved was arrested on a warrant check and subsequently released.
"After what I saw, the man did nothing to provoke Sergeant Newberg, whose actions were not only bad, but deeply troubling and illegal. ", said Harrison at the press conference. "This type of behavior can not and will not be tolerated under any circumstances."
Harrison described the incident as one of the acts that deteriorated relations between the police and the citizens. Last week, a former Baltimore officer was convicted of assault and misconduct for beating a man during an incident in 2018.
Less than 24 hours after the charges were dropped against Dotson, the police arrested him and said his license plate was "unusually positioned", speculating that the shade of his window was too dark and smelled of marijuana, reported the Sun.
He was charged with possession of crack, the paper said. A spokesman for the department did not return a request for comment on the timing of the traffic stop shortly after the filing of charges against Newberg.
Their neighbor was arrested for terrorism. This is how a "typical American community" reacted.
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