Demonstrators went to Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein’s house today to protest his decision not to prosecute Detective Todd A. Strohman and two other Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Anthony Anderson.
Last month, Bernstein said his office determined that Strohman used appropriate action when he tackled Anderson during a September drug arrest that resulted in broken ribs and a lacerated spleen, which killed the 46-year-old East Baltimore man.
Bernstein’s Roland Park residence was surrounded by police and SWAT officers. The protest was peaceful and there were no reported arrests.
The state’s attorney’s decision not to prosecute has angered Anderson’s family, who believe police used excessive force on an unarmed man.
Police said Anderson was attempting to swallow drugs while walking away from them, which led Stohman to use a “bear hug” to take Anderson to the ground and preserve evidence.
Bernstein has defended his decision to clear the officers by saying he had to analyze the “split second” decision they made. He noted that Anderson had disregarded their orders and the officers did not know if he had a weapon. (He was later found not to be carrying a weapon.)
Baltimore police training guidelines allow for the use of force when someone doesn’t comply with police orders and may be trying to destroy evidence. Bernstein said his job was to determine if the officers had overstepped departmental procedures, not if they could have carried out the arrest in a different manner.