BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore police released body camera footage of a confrontation between a Baltimore police sergeant and a citizen in Southwest Baltimore.
The department did not allow reporters to take videos or pictures of the full video, but instead burned CDs of the video, WJZ’s Paul Gessler reported.
No video or pictures were allowed, for some reason, when the commissioner was walking us through the video. They are currently burning CDs—CDs!—of this video for us.
— Paul Gessler (@PaulGessler) June 14, 2019
Sgt. Ethan Newberg was arrested June 6, on charges of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct. He is currently suspended without pay.
The video shows a man walking by the officer giving his thoughts about police running a warrant check in the area, urging police to get a man off of a wet sidewalk during the check.
Sgt. Newberg took exception to the comment and chased the man down.
“The man did nothing to provoke Sgt. Newberg, whose actions were not just wrong, but deeply disturbing and illegal,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
The disturbing and illegal part, according to Harrison and prosecutors, happened when Newberg’s subordinate steps in and tackles the man.
“I don’t know how something like this would have been handled in the past, but I knew as soon as I saw the video, I knew how I would be handling it,” Harrison said.
Last week, Harrison announced Sgt. Newberg, a 24-year veteran of the department, would be charged with false imprisonment, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Newberg was caught on camera a week prior telling the man to accept his disorderly charge.
“What am I under arrest for?”
“Take your charge like a man,” Newberg is heard saying.
“For what?” The man responded.
“Take your charge,”
“What am I going to jail for?”
“Because you don’t know how to act,”
The man tackled was transported and charged, but prosecutors declined to pursue charges. The man sitting on the curb in the video on whom police were running warrant checks was released.
In the video, Harrison cites an officer who tried to intervene and de-escalate, who Sgt. Newberg commanded to leave.
“Just relax. Relax.” The officer said in the footage.
“Leave my scene. Go. Go. Leave. And don’t you ever tell me how to do my job,” Newberg said.
“Take your hand-holding nonsense somewhere else. This is police work. This ain’t no candlelight vigil,” Newberg said.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said that this type of behavior is emblematic of the “horrible culture” in the department. He said he is interested in learning how pervasive it is.
“It makes their work even that much harder. It is making our compliance with the consent decree that much harder, and it makes building trust with our community that much harder,” Harrison said.
The City’s police union last week blasted Commissioner Harrison’s actions, calling them politically motivated.
Newberg was Baltimore City’s second-highest paid employee last year. City records show he made $243,000, mostly in overtime.