A Baltimore Police Officer has been arrested and is facing multiple charges after he grabbed at an innocent passerby who merely offered his opinion about the detainment of another individual.
According to the Washington Post, Lee Dotson was walking down Ashton Street in southwestern Baltimore when he saw two officers forcing an unidentified man to sit on a wet curb, so he decided to speak out in protest.
“That ground wet, man,” Dotson commented as he passed by, before continuing to walk away.
However, one officer Sgt. Ethan Newberg, a 24-year veteran with the force, decided to take serious issue with the casual remark, running after Dotson (who was still walking away), before grabbing him by the arm and trying to take him to the ground.
That was when another officer rushed in and tackled Dotson to the ground, before putting him in handcuffs.
Initially, as the Post notes, Newberg claimed that Doton became “combative and aggressive,” with both officers claiming that Dotson incited a hostile crowd.
Later, it would be Newberg’s own body camera footage that exposed the lie, again showing Dotson walking off as he made his comment, only to be chased down like a dangerous criminal.
Following the release of the footage, Newberg was suspended without pay. He was later arrested and charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct.
“From what I saw, the man did nothing to provoke Sgt. Newberg, whose actions were not just wrong but deeply disturbing,” Harrison said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Be tough on crime, but be soft on people.”
The video shows Dotson asking why he was being arrested and taken to jail.
“Just go to jail and take your charge like a man,” Newberg quipped.
When Dotson again asked, Newberg said “Because you don’t know how to act.”
Newberg continued to act so agitatedly that another officer from another unit stepped in and asked him to relax.
“Leave my scene,” Newberg snapped. “Don’t you ever tell me how to do my job.”
The second officer, who remains unidentified, was suspended with pay, according to Harrison.
The man who was initially being detained on a warrant check was later released.
Charges – which included disorderly conduct, interfering with an arrest and drug-related charges – were ultimately dropped against Dotson.
Officers claimed that they found a little bag of what was believed to be cocaine hidden underneath his pants. According to the Sun, Dotson refused to discuss those charges.
However, as the Sun noted, less than 24 hours after those charges were dropped, Dotson was pulled over by police because his license plate was “positioned in an unusual manner.” Officers reportedly claimed the tint on his windows was too dark and that they smell marijuana.
Dotson ended up being charged with being in possession of crack cocaine. A spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of the stop, which occurred shortly after the charges were filed against Newberg.