BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A traffic stop on Greenmount Avenue in east Baltimore is grabbing the public’s attention because the driver was mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah.
The traffic stop happened in September of 2019. The officer told Vignarajah he was being pulled over for driving without his headlights on. When the officer went back to his cruiser, however, he told Vignarahjha there was another problem.
- Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Thiru Vignarajah Releases 20-Point ‘End The Bloodshed’ Crime Plan
- Former Maryland Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah Proposes Taxing Marijuana In Baltimore
“Did you get a repair order back last year and didn’t get it fixed?” the officer could be heard saying on body-worn footage. “It’s saying your tag is suspended.”
During the hour-long stop, Vignarajah appeared to become frustrated with the officer.
“We’re 600 patrol officers down and that’s what you’re doing in Greenmount?” Vignarajah could be heard saying on the officer’s body-worn footage.
In a video first reported by Justine Barron, Vignarajah could be heard asking the officer to turn off his body-worn camera.
Vignarajah: “Can you turn your body camera off?”
Baltimore Police Officer: “I’m sorry?”
Vignarajah: “Do you want to turn your body camera off?”
Baltimore Police Officer: “So you want me to turn my body?”
Vignarajah: “I want you to turn, yes.”
On Tuesday night, WJZ asked Vignarajah about that encounter.
WJZ’s Ava-joye Burnett: “Did you ask the officer to turn his camera off, his body camera?”
Vignarajah: “Well into what was an hour-long encounter, the officer kindly offered. I appreciated the gesture and I accepted. It was near the end of the stop or so it seemed and in fact, it was.”
WJZ’s Ava-joye Burnett: “So he offered and you didn’t ask?”
Vignarajah: “A few minutes earlier he had said, ‘Do you want to talk without the camera?’ and that’s what we were trying to do.”
Vignarajah said the tags were suspended because he forgot to submit a minor work order. He also questioned the timing the video surfaced.
“This is exactly what you would expect. Suddenly we have surged in the polls, everybody is paying attention to our solutions, our ideas and the biggest problems Baltimore is facing and then this comes out,” Vignarajah said.
Vignarajah told WJZ he was showing a friend part of the city, some of the greatest spots and some of the “challenges.”