Baltimore, MD -- Two Baltimore police officers were involved in an altercation after attempting to question a man Thursday, who did not want to be questioned.
As the video begins, James Young, 21, was not told he was under arrest. He became agitated that he was being harassed and from the video and the arrest report, it appears that the officers had no probable cause to initiate the stop.
As the stop progresses, the officers continue to put their hands on the shirtless Young, who repeatedly tells them not to touch him.
Young, who was clearly angered at the harassment should have remained calm and asked the two magic questions, "Am I being detained? Am I free to go?" He then should have walked away once the officers confirmed that this was not a detainment. Instead, he merely tried to walk away without asking these questions, at least a half dozen times.
Had the officers stopped their harassment and allowed Young to continue down the street, there likely would have been no further incident. Granted, Young could have facilitated this process by being non-confrontational and assertive of his rights.
Unfortunately, neither of the two above scenarios played out, so the situation was then escalated. Because Young did not want to be detained and show his ID without being given a reason, he became aggressive and so did the officers. The female officer seems to instigate the situation as well as she yells at Young as he attempts to walk away, "F**king get in my face!"
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After the officers had enough contempt from a man they were attempting to ID, they decided to place Young under arrest. At this point, things became violent. Young attempted to resist his arrest, and he swung at the officers, striking the male officer.
The three end up wrestling on the ground for a moment before backup officers arrive, at which point Young fully submits, saying, “I’m already down. I’m already down.”
Thursday night, Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun Tweeted the numerous charges he is being held on without bond.
Young was charged with assault in the first degree, assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts assault in the second degree, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. Notice that all of these charges originated from the contact entirely initiated by the officers.
No one here is attempting to make the case that James Young is a saint. However, it would appear that this whole scenario would have played out much differently had the police not initiated a potentially unlawful stop in the beginning, and if Young would have known and asserted his rights, without being confrontational.
Sound off in the comments below, let us know what you think. Was Young justified in being upset and trying to walk away? Could this incident have ended peacefully if the police had stopped their harassment, or Young would have acted differently?