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Crime & Justiceby Fern Shen10:55 amDec 14, 20170

ACLU seeks police body camera footage from Harlem Park lockdown

Request comes as police still have not made any arrests in the death of Detective Sean Suiter

Above: Residents said Baltimore police engaged in frisks and baseless warrant checks after they cordoned off the neighborhood following the shooting of Det. Sean Suiter. (Fern Shen)

Responding to questions raised about the cordoning off of Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood following the death of Detective Sean Suiter, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland today asked for all body-worn camera (BWC) footage recorded by officers involved in the action.

“This request seeks records that will provide greater transparency in connection with the extraordinary police cordon in the Harlem Park neighborhood,” wrote ACLU senior staff attorney David Rocah in the Maryland Public Information Act request sent to the Baltimore Police Department.

The request comes after news reports, in The Brew and elsewhere, that officers policing the cordoned-off area restricted vehicle and pedestrian access to multiple streets and even searched and patted down people trying to return to their homes.

Residents and community advocates protested the “lock-down,” but it remained in effect, with some interruptions, for nearly a week.

The restricted area covered the 900 block of Bennett Place between Fremont Avenue and Schroeder Street as well as the 500 block of Schroeder Street between Edmondson Avenue and Franklin Street.

Footage Sought

The public information request, covering the period from November 15 – 21, includes the following:

• All body worn camera (BWC) footage recorded by officers working the perimeter of the cordon involving an interaction with a civilian.

• All BWC footage involving police escorting civilians to or from the police cordon.

• All BWC footage involving police directing occupants of any building within the cordon that they may not leave the building.

• The first five minutes of all BWC footage recording searches of occupied dwellings within the police cordon.

• Any logs or similar records of BWC footage recorded by officers working the perimeter of the cordon showing the number of times the BWC was activated, and the duration of the recording.

Despite the police dragnet that followed the shooting of Suiter on November 15 (he died a day later) and the unprecedented reward of $215,000 for information leading to those responsible, Baltimore police have not yet made any arrests.

On December 1, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis called on the FBI to open an investigation of the case. A week earlier, Davis had revealed that Suiter was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury investigating police corruption in Baltimore.

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