Baltimore County police investigating video of altercation between officer, man in Towson

TOWSON, Md. - Baltimore County police said they are aware of and are investigating a video depicting an altercation between an officer and a man in Towson.

Police said the incident took place at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, when officers witnessed a disturbance among several members of a large crowd in the 400 block of York Road. Among those that responded to the incident were Baltimore County Police, Baltimore County Auxiliary Police and Maryland State Police. It is unclear whether other agencies also were involved.

Baltimore County police said at least two people – a man and woman – were arrested and charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, second-degree assault and drug charges.

The video, which has also been posted on multiple websites and social media outlets, shows an officer confronting a male who is filming the arrests. The person filming the incident, 21-year-old Sergio Gutierrez, was not arrested and has not come forward to file a complaint.

"It seemed like they were being a little too forceful with these people being arrested," Gutierrez said. "It didn't seem like these people were resisting at all. They just had them pinned down...

"I'd like the Baltimore County Police Department to educate their officers a little bit more thoroughly on the rights of the civilians and what they can and can't do."

Baltimore County police said they would like to talk to the person who was filming so that a complete picture of what happened can be constructed. Recognizing that a video often represents only a small part of an incident, investigators want to know more about what happened before and after the events depicted on the video.

"The courts in Maryland have settled this issue," Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. "It is legal for a civilian to film a police officer on duty and in a public place."

Attorney Ned Himmelrich agrees. He is an attorney with Gordon Feinblatt, who focuses on media and fair use. 

"They're recording the news," he said. "And there's a fair use, a first amendment right for recording the news. So if you're job is to report, or you're just a watchful citizens, your rights are the same as long as you're not in the way of a police investigation."

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