Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lawyers for the Baltimore Police Department are accused of harassment and intimidation. It all stems from a lawsuit filed against police by a man who videotaped officers violently arresting a woman at the Preakness.
Meghan McCorkell has more on this latest court ruling.
A federal judge has gone so far as to fine the police department’s counsel for trying to intimidate that man into dropping his lawsuit.
A woman’s arrest at the Preakness is caught on camera. Chris Sharp was shooting video when officers demanded his cell phone.
“I was certain I was going to jail. I was surrounded by police officers, being told I had to give my phone up,” Sharp said.
When he got it back, it was wiped clean. Now he’s suing the police department for violating his First Amendment rights.
But the ACLU says police lawyers are intimidating Sharp, filing subpoenas for his medical records, past employment records, his cell phone records. They’ve even made contact with family and friends.
“These kind of overzealous tactics have really no place in any case in Maryland and especially a civil rights case,” said Meredith Curtis, ACLU.
A federal judge agreed, quashing nearly all of the city’s subpoenas, calling the lawyers’ actions “appalling” and a “veritable witch hunt in the hopes of uncovering some dirt.” Those lawyers have been fined $1,000.
Sharp says all he ever wanted was an apology from police for deleting all the videos on his phone.
“If this is happening to me, I can’t imagine what is happening to other people,” he said.
He still hopes–with a new police commissioner–the two sides can come to a resolution.
Sharp did not want to talk about this latest court ruling. The ACLU says his family has just been through the ringer.
The city solicitor tells WJZ’s media partner–The Baltimore Sun–the request for information on Sharp has been benign and legitimate, but he says the city is unlikely to fight the judge’s ruling.