Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web site, we have identified the worst case for February. It is a case from Towson, Md., where the local police seem to think they can suspend the First Amendment.
A young man was video recording a late-night altercation involving arrests in downtown Towson when Baltimore County police noticed him recording, roughed him up, and threatened him with arrest if he continued to record the ongoing arrests. When the man cited the First Amendment right to record the police (which Baltimore County Police policy fully recognizes), the officer accosted him and shouted “You have no rights!”
Earlier in the recording, another officer tries to justify ordering the man to leave the scene, shouting “you diverted my attention from that … LEAVE!” Then the officer immediately resorted to physical force to push the recorder away from the scene. The video shows multiple officers reacting violently to being recorded. The fact that they are flaunting the law and their department policy so willfully, while knowing they are being recorded, makes these Baltimore County police officers our prime candidates for the worst police misconduct for February.
For additional background, go here.