BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore police launch an investigation into a cell phone video that shows officers threatening to arrest a man who was recording them.

Derek Valcourt has the video and talked to the man who shot it.

This video is the latest in the controversy over how city officers treat citizens with cameras.

It was early Saturday morning along Cross Street in Federal Hill. Six officers all hovered around a man who appears to be detained on the ground. When Scott Cover saw it walking home, he broke out his cell phone camera.

“Didn’t know what was going on. I just, it was happening. It was live. I have a camera; I’m supposed to be able to take video,” Cover said.

He’s right, at least according to the new police policy issued Friday in response to court challenges to how city officers handle being recorded. But this is what happened next:

“Take a walk, sir, we’re asking you,” an officer said. “You’re loitering. Sir, you’re standing in front of the border. I’m asking you to leave.”

Officers never tell Cover to stop recording. Instead, they threaten to arrest him for loitering and order him to leave the area.

“Turn around and walk,” an officer said.

After Cover said he was leaving, an officer asked to see his ID.

“That seems to be their way of, `Well, we have this policy and instead of telling you you can’t do that, we’re going to tell you you can’t be here,'” Cover said.

Baltimore’s mayor says for officer protection, there should be guidelines on distances at which you can videotape.

“Because if you are a police officer, that puts yourself in a life or death situation every day when you show up to work. You don’t want the extra burden of having to worry about if videotapers are friend or foe,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Ironically, Cover says had the officers ignored him, his video wouldn’t have gotten any attention.

“Worst thing that happened, I would have probably tweeted something that mentioned `Some poor schmuck got arrested on Cross Street’ and went to bed,” Cover said.

Cover says for now, he isn’t planning any legal action but he thinks the police department ought to acknowledge its mistake and owes him an apology. The ACLU agrees with Cover and has asked for a copy of his video.

A police spokesman would not comment on the story, citing the pending internal investigation.

Comments (16)
  1. Cal says:

    Cover – you are an idiot impeding the work of the police, just because you can.
    Grow up and act like a man, instead of a wuss.

    1. KottaMan says:

      Cal, you are correct.

    2. Bob says:

      What has this got do with acting like a man? Grow up and act like a man yourself.

      1. KottaMan says:

        Get a life Bob. Cover apparently had nothing better to do than instigate problems. A man would have concluded his presence wasn’t needed and left. The smart folks would have not wanted to expose themselves to the situation anyway.

      2. Bob says:

        I would truly fear for our civil liberties if your idea of a “man” is one who is a sheepish, neutered coward who always looks the other way. Good thing those who founded this country were real men, and they would stick up for Cover in this situation.

  2. big tom says:

    CAL is the code for COP

    1. Cal says:

      big tom , you are thinking with little tom – I was never and will never be a cop.
      I am not a bleeding heart either, and I don’t need to coddle idiots.

  3. RavenLude says:

    what a loser…..another anti police liberal D O U C H E.
    the video proves that Cover failed to obey a lawful police order…….BPD should go get a warrant on him for the crime he committed.

    1. Scott says:

      Standing on a sidewalk is not a crime, nor is witnessing something from a safe distance, nor is recording law enforcement carrying out their duties.

      1. Silly says:

        I fully agree with Scott,the police officer in question was wrong to ask him to leave.
        He was standing in a safe distance.

      2. KottaMan says:

        Standing, unless posted or outside a licensed liquor establishment, is legal in general alright. Nor is recording law enforcement. However, it needs to be up to an officer to determine what a “safe distance is” not you, Scott and Silly. When an officer gives you a lawful order to move on, do so. Just do it. Why do folks like you fell you need to be in the midst of everything?

  4. Confused says:

    Can anyone define the law loitering for me? I watched the video and I do not think that Mr. Cover did anything wrong. He was not even that close to the police. Is it really against the law to just hang out on a street? I am just curious because that just seems silly to me, obviously if you are not committing a crime…

  5. KottaMan says:

    The guy should have gone about his business or minded his own business. It is always interesting to see people sticking their nose into matters that don’t concern them. No brutality in progress here. Rule 1: When the police advise you to move on, do it. To the posters who think it’s ok to get in the area too closely, any arrest scenario can turn ugly Consider that an officer can be assaulted from the onlookers who may know the arrestee and decide (as has happened) to “free” the person. The arrestee may not be as “peaceful” as initially it appears. There are a number of unpredictable events that can occur and the police, anywhere, don’t need you help. If they do, they’ll ask for it.

    1. Bob says:

      How was videotaping something “sticking your nose into matters”? He wasn’t interacting in any way with the police, they chose to interact with him. Fool.

  6. TruthTeller says:

    Bob, have a problem?. Why don’t you join any law enforcement agency and see how long you are on the street before what you think is situation under control is not what you end up with. Been there and done that, Bob. Have you? No, I didn’t think so. When someone nearby hangs around and refuses to move on when directed, that is a classic sign to any officer that you now have another potential problem to deal with. Any arrest can “go bad” even with your best care and intentions. People like you, Bob, just don’t understand all of this. Do a “ride-a-Long” and you’ll get a real up close and personal view of the realities of working the territory.

Leave a Reply