In the early hours of Saturday morning, Baltimore County police arrested a 19-year-old college student outside Towson’s Greene Turtle.
In a time of heightened scrutiny of police — particularly Baltimore-area police — the officers’ rough treatment of the young man garnered plenty of attention. According to police, Zachary Blumenstein tried to start a fight with another guy, and then proceeded to shout obscenities at him as well as at the officers. When he refused to leave the area, the officers intervened. A cell phone video shows officers tackling Blumenstein to the ground and then punching him in the face as he continues to struggle.
There are some important differences between this video and others that have inspired protests, court cases, and even murder charges.
For one, both the victim and officers appear to be white. (CORRECTION: Blumenstein is African-American.) Blumenstein also appears to be pretty actively resisting arrest; the officers said that they tried to subdue him with pepper spray, but that didn’t work. Most notably, Blumenstein was able to walk away from the scene of arrest (albeit with quite a few charges: disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, failure to obey an officer, trespassing, and resisting arrest), rather than being shot. In other words, Blumenstein’s situation sounds to me to be closer to this than this.
Baltimore County’s Chief of Police told the Sun that he’s “concerned” about how his officers behaved in the video and will be reviewing it.