Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He was arrested on drug charges but just minutes after the arrest, a Baltimore City man died in police custody. Now his family and witnesses are calling it a case of police brutality.
Mike Schuh has the details.
Police say Anthony Anderson tried to swallow drugs as he was being arrested, but family members say that’s not true and that the officers are responsible for his death.
Family and friends gathered in the spot where they say Anthony Anderson Sr. died right in front of his children, his mother and his 2-year-old granddaughter.
“My father was the only parent we had left. We lost our mom 14 years ago and for him to die this way…” said his daughter, Jean Anderson.
It was Friday evening when police arrested Anderson on drug charges.
“He never even seen his death coming,” said Keith Johnson.
Johnson says he saw Anderson walking across the street when he says an officer threw him to the ground.
“The guy never looked back or anything. He didn’t even see the police coming. The police grabbed him, spun him around and slammed him,” Johnson said.
He says Anderson never got back up.
Family members say they ran across the street to the fire station to try to get paramedics to help.
“I seen everything that they did to my father. I think that was so wrong,” said his daughter, Yvonne Anderson.
But the police tell a different story.
“The officers indicated that they witnessed him putting what they believe to be drugs in his mouth during that time,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police spokesperson.
The officers say when Anderson complained of pain, they called an ambulance. He later died at the hospital. The matter is now under investigation.
“We’re trying to take the statements of the officers, statements of the witnesses and fill that in with whatever forensic evidence comes out of the autopsy,” Guglielmi said.
That autopsy is now being conducted by the medical examiner.
The officers involved in the arrest have been placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Anderson family will hold a march calling for justice on Saturday morning, following their father’s funeral.