12 June 2009

Police Shoot At Unarmed Man

By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L., Managing Editor

Note: After story and headline was written, Baltimore Police issued an update several hours later claiming the suspect was not shot by police, but injured himself while fleeing.

As the first member of local media on scene, this reporter approached the scene seeking answers. The yellow tape was all around. Greenmount Ave., a major artery leading in and out of the city was blocked off.“You can be here, you gotta go on the other side of the street.” Although I stood outside the police line, I was still too close for the officers on the scene.

A funny observation was when all of the “mainstream,” that is, white media arrived, they stood right up against the same line without getting any harassment from the police. This reporter joined them and was able to do several live reports for Radio One. With the help of newsman Robert Altman in studio, we went on air over all four radio stations immediately with the story before anyone else.

When I was initially shooed away from the scene, I interviewed many local eyewitnesses. Their story is a man jumped out a car and was being chased by police. They heard a shot fired from the alley and the man eventually staggered out in handcuffs escorted by police. Several witnesses claim the man was struck several times and beaten by police although he was in handcuffs.

This reporter observed the man with an open wound on his hand left to sit on the curb in handcuffs for over an hour. A city Fire Department medic unit arrived on scene and left without transporting the victim.

Per Officer Troy Harris, Baltimore Police spokesman: Around 3:25 near the 1000 block of Lanvale St., plain clothes officers observed a man in a black Dodge Magnum in a suspected drug transaction. The officers attempted to make a stop and the suspect fled.

The police helicopter was notified and maintained contact with the suspect. With the officers on the ground following, the suspect led them to the 300 block of 23rd St., near Greenmount Ave. At this point the suspect bailed out and fled into an alley behind the Greenmount Ave. Recreation Center.

While in the alley, the suspect failed to respond when the officer told him to show his hands. At this point the officer fired a single shot.

Upon searching the suspect, no weapons or drugs were found. This reporter also personally witnessed several plain clothes officers completely search the suspects car from top to bottom. There were no weapons or drugs found there either. The car was towed to the crime lab for a more detailed examination.

Before any other members of media arrived, this reporter witnessed a city Fire Dept. ladder truck arrive on scene. Several plain clothes officers climbed the ladder to get onto the roof of the rowhouse behind which the shooting took place.

At the time of the incident, Ofc. Harris stated it was unclear whether the suspects wounds were from the officers shooting, or possibly an injury sustained while fleeing and or jumping over fences.

Per department policy, the name of the plain clothes male officer, or his female partner was not released.

The incident kept Greenmount Ave. closed for nearly two hours during rush hour. Several MTA buses loaded with passengers were seen sitting idle stuck in the resulting traffic backup.


dan said...

If he was not shot by police, then do the honorable thing and remove the giant ass headlines that are larger then the correction. you shouldnt even have the article up at that point.

The Editors said...

You should be a more careful observer dan. The headline says police shoot AT unarmed man. Indeed they did. The article is valid in that it still tells a story about a police officer discharging his weapon. In a crowded urban environment, this is ALWAYS a story. Whether the firing of the weapon was justified or not.

If it wasn't a big deal, then why does so much paperwork need be filled out every time an officer fires his weapon?



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