PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Police Department on Tuesday released the body-worn camera video and 911 call involved in a controversial arrest of a 76-year-old woman in Pikesville earlier this month in which an officer was seen forcing the woman to the ground.
The video showed Baltimore County Police Corporal Brennan grabbing Rena Mellerson’s arm and dragging her outside, at which point Officer Schmidt grabbed her by the upper torso and pulled her to the ground.
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Brennan could then be heard telling Schmidt to be “easy with her.”
CAUTION: The video below contains violence and inappropriate language
In the initial 911 call, a woman told the dispatcher there is a boy being violent and destructive toward people’s property. The caller said she has a knife.
“He’s trying to hurt people. I will cut this little boy; somebody better come f***ing get him,” she said.
CAUTION: The audio below contains inappropriate language
When officers arrived at the scene in the unit block of Western Winds Circle in Windsor Mill, they found two women outside yelling. Police said when the officers asked what was wrong, the women just kept yelling.
The video showed Brennan threatening to arrest one of the women.
“If you want to get locked up for disorderly (conduct), we can go down that road,” he said.
CAUTION: The video below contains inappropriate language
The two women continued to stand on the porch of a home yelling at and taunting the police outside, at one point threatening Brennan, the video showed.
As the first scene cleared, Brennan then went to Mellerson’s home in the 7000 block of North Alter Street where the woman in the initial video, later identified as Mellerson’s granddaughter Cierra Floyd, had gone.
In the video, Corporal Brennan walked up to Mellerson’s front door and told her that Floyd was under arrest for disorderly conduct.
A woman could be heard in the background telling Mellerson not to open the door moments after Brennan said Floyd was being arrested.
“I don’t want to make this a bigger thing than it is but her behavior was out of line,” Brennan said.
As Mellerson and Brennan struggled over the door, Brennan pulled out a Taser and told Mellerson she’s also under arrest for interfering with the investigation. He later told her he doesn’t want to charge her with anything and told her to get out of the way.
Brennan could then be heard arguing with Floyd about why she’s being arrested. Mellerson then told Floyd to go with police.
“Just come and go with him,” she said. “Go with him, we’ll get you out.”
Floyd refused, at which point Mellerson tried to quickly shut the door, but Brennan’s foot stopped the door from fully closing. Brennan and Mellerson yelled at each other, at which point Brennan then appeared to fire his Taser through the gap in the door.
During the struggle, Brennan also sprayed pepper spray into the home.
The two continued to struggle as Brennan pulled out his gun. A small child could be heard in the background.
Brennan then forced the door open and ordered Floyd to come outside. She ran into the home’s lower level, at which point Brennan grabbed Mellerson’s arm and Schmidt forced her down.
Video from an area resident provided to WJZ earlier this month showed that part of the altercation and generated backlash against the department.
Online court records show Mellerson is charged with second-degree assault, resisting/interfering with an arrest and obstruction. Floyd faces five charges, including felony second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski said at the time the video was concerning and called for an investigation into the officers’ handling of the case.
Mellerson’s attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said at a news conference on January 15 the officers were “disgracing the badge that many officers wear proudly and do their jobs every day, putting their lives in danger.”
“I don’t think you need the training to know not to slam a 76-year-old woman to the ground,” Gordon said. “I don’t think you need classes for that.”
In a statement along with the video’s release, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said:
“The men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department work diligently to honor our core values of integrity, fairness and service. When our actions come into question, it is my responsibility as your Chief to ensure an objective and thorough investigation is completed. In addition, it is imperative that we continue to maintain an open dialogue and communicate with the community. It is our obligation to treat all citizens respectfully and impartially. The trust of our community must be earned and maintained every day. We will continue to strive to provide the high quality of service that our community expects and deserves.”