Anne Arundel Police Suspend Officer for Trying to Snatch Recording Device Out of Man’s Hand

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A police officer in Anne Arundel County is temporarily off the job after confronting and trying to grab a recording device out of a person’s hand.

Corporal Scott Wolford, a nine-year veteran of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, responded on Saturday, Aug. 5, to a reported “customer dispute” between a furniture delivery guy and a resident on Sebring Court in Severn. While the trio were outside talking, one of the men decided to start recording Wolford. He didn’t like that:

In the above video, posted by Southern Maryland News Online, Wolford grows agitated about one minute and 15 seconds in, suddenly asking the man with the device, “Are you recording me? That’s real nice.”

When the man responds, “I have my right” – which is true, as affirmed by various federal court rulings – Wolford childishly mimics him, then gets physical after the man laughs. “Let me see that real quick?” he asks, trying but failing to snatch the device out of the man’s hand.

Wolford then proceeds to walk back to his squad car to leave, saying, “Now you’ve got no help” on his way out.

Yesterday, Anne Arundel County Police said Wolford’s policing powers had been suspended pending an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Unit. The department said in a statement that it respects the public’s right to “video record, photograph, and/or audio record officers while they are conducting official business in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity.”

“The actions of this officer are a detriment to the relationships we have fostered within our community and do not reflect our commitment to providing courteous service to all citizens,” the department said.

“When we see these standards not being met, we will deal with violations of our policies forthrightly and with integrity,” added Police Chief Timothy Altomare. “We are doing so in this case.”

The department has been forthcoming with details in at least one other case of alleged misconduct by an officer this year. In May, police charged a detective with solicitation of a prostitute, fourth-degree sex offense, assault and misconduct in office for allegedly soliciting sex from and harassing multiple women.

The Aug. 5 video from the county follows two recent video-related controversies involving Baltimore City police, in which public defenders and defense attorneys maintain body camera footage shows officers planting drugs before arresting suspects in November 2016 and January of this year.

Ethan McLeod
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