Patrol Duties Revoked For Volunteer Officer Who Confronted Man Filming Arrests In Towson
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A police confrontation caught on tape sparks a months long internal investigation into Baltimore County Police. That review is now over.
Monique Griego tells us the fate of the auxiliary officer at the center of the controversy.
After the incident, that officer was put on desk duty and taken off patrol. WJZ has learned he will not be allowed to return to patrol.
Video showing a confrontation between a Baltimore County Police volunteer and a man filming an arrest in Towson ignited outrage throughout the community.
Man: “Have I committed a crime, sir?”
Officer: “Do you want to go?”
Man: “I have done nothing here.”
Officer: “Don’t open your mouth.”
Man: “I thought I had freedom of speech here.”
Officer: “You don’t. You’ve just lost it.”
After it went viral in February, the department launched an internal investigation into the actions of auxiliary officer Matthew Betz. WJZ has now learned Betz will stay on desk duty indefinitely.
“His powers of arrest, and they’re very limited powers of arrest that our volunteer members have, have been suspended and he will not return to patrol,” said Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Police.
A spokesperson for the department says when the police chief first saw the video, he thought Betz was wrong for telling the man he couldn’t film them. He also didn’t agree with how he handled the situation. The investigation only confirmed his opinion.
“That this was inappropriate and unnecessary language that was not reflective of our philosophy of respect towards citizens,” said Armacost.
Baltimore County Police also stressed how valuable the volunteer officers are to the department. It has since taken a more thorough look at how they assign patrol officers and enhanced their training.
The man who took the recording, Sergio Gutierrez, previously told The Baltimore Sun: “I encourage people to record something, record anything. Because you have the right to, you have every right to record.”
Betz has been a volunteer with the department for 22 years.
The department’s volunteer division currently has 88 auxiliary officers.
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