VIDEO: Officer’s Treatment of Bystander Leads to His Arrest

Bystander objects to officers making a suspect sit on a wet sidewalk

By Calibre Press  |   Jun 19, 2019

From the 

When Baltimore police Sgt. Ethan Newberg told fellow officers to arrest a bystander who criticized their tactics as they detained another man, the 24-year veteran of the department said the pedestrian had been “interfering.”

Body camera footage from the May 30 incident released Friday by the Baltimore Police Department paints a starkly different picture of what happened before the bystander, Lee Dotson, was placed in handcuffs.

Newberg, 49, is charged with assault, false imprisonment and misconduct after chasing and grabbing Dotson, who had commented on police arrest tactics as they detained another man on a warrant check in the 2300 block of Ashton Str. The sergeant is suspended without pay.

Newberg’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, sent a letter Friday to Commissioner Michael Harrison protesting the release of the footage.

“There is no constructive purpose for the dissemination of the … footage before trial,” Murtha said.

Newberg was the second-highest-paid city employee in fiscal year 2018 after making $243,000 — more than half that thanks to overtime.

A subordinate officer to Newberg, who police declined to identify Friday, was suspended with pay while police investigate his role in the incident.

In the footage captured on both officers’ body cameras, Dotson can be seen walking away from police while criticizing their decision to make a suspect sit on a wet sidewalk. Newberg starts to run toward Dotson, who reacts by saying “I’m not running away” and tells the sergeant to get off him.

The second officer then tackles Dotson to the ground, while the man shouts that he was exercising free speech and that the officers were violating his constitutional rights.

When more police officers arrive at the scene, Dotson is brought back to his feet and asks officers why he is being arrested.

“Just go to jail and take your charge like a man,” Newberg says in the footage.

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