A new video making the rounds online appears to show Baltimore County police officers aggressively detaining and macing a 16-year-old boy in Woodlawn.
Footage shared on Twitter yesterday by Fox45’s Joy Lepola shows a teenager engaged in a confrontation with two county police officers. In the first partial video, the teen, identified by Lepola as Alonzo Cox, appears to resist a female officer’s efforts to cuff him; she then appears to throw the cuffs to the ground and climb on top of the boy. A second male officer can then be seen climbing on top of the teen and holding him, face down.
A second video appears to show the male officer using his forearm to hold Cox down. At first, the officer makes a closed fist and pulls back, though it’s unclear if he strikes the teen.
“Why you hitting my man?” asks a spectator from behind the camera. A girl can be heard screaming in the background.
The rest of the footage appears to show the officer continuing to force Cox’s head into the ground, making a closed fist again and punching him in the head while the female officer holds his lower half. “Put your hands behind your back,” the male officer shouts. He then appears to take out mace and spray it on Cox’s head before they arrest him.
Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Jennifer Peach wrote in an email that officers responded to that area on Woodlawn Drive for a report of a fight and arrived to find a 14-year-old girl waving a knife at a teenage boy, presumably Cox, in front of her. Officers were able to take the girl into custody without incident, while Cox “did not comply with a female officer’s verbal commands and assaulted her.”
Peach said the girl told officers she was arguing with another girl when the “male juvenile,” presumably Cox, “stepped in and attacked her, grabbing her around the neck with both hands and pushing her back against a vehicle.” Peach said the girl then “broke free and took a knife from her bag,” and that Cox was walking away as she was waving the knife when officers arrived.
Police said Cox was “refusing to cooperate, actively resisting and pushing the officer away” in the video.
Officers arrested both teens. Cox was charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and second-degree assault on a police officer, while the girl was charged with first- and second-degree assault. Both were released to their parents.
Activist groups, including the local resistance group Baltimore Bloc and international “hacktivists” Anonymous, have spoken out about the arrest.
— Anonymous (@LatestAnonNews) February 24, 2017
— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) February 24, 2017
Cox told Lepola in an interview that he felt he could have cooperated more, but said he was scared he might be shot and that “I was scared for my life.”
Police are “reviewing the use of force involved in this incident, as is standard procedure,” Peach said. She noted that body-worn camera footage is available and “will be reviewed for evidentiary value.”
This story has been updated with comment from the Baltimore County Police Department.