Video Shows Baltimore Police Violently Arresting Woman While She Recorded Officers

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Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 2.29.02 PMLawyers for a woman who is suing the Baltimore Police Department in connection with what she describes as violent treatment during a March arrest posted a cell phone video of the encounter this week.

The woman, identified by her lawyer Josh Insley as Kianga Mwamba, alleges she was “beaten, tasered and falsely charged,” in the March 30 encounter. In a Twitter Town Hall on Monday night, police commissioner Anthony Batts said police opened an internal affairs investigation into the incident that has not yet been completed.


The video shows Mwamba recording police during the arrest of another man, whom she said was being beaten by police. The video does not confirm whether he was being beaten, but shows police shouting at someone off-camera. Mwamba tells cops that she is allowed to videotape them. It’s not clear from the video, but she appears to be in the lane of traffic. Police then¬†tell Mwamba to pull her car over. They then approach her, and Mwamba says she can’t with police standing there. Then, the picture cuts out. A crackle can be heard, which Insley says is the sound of a Taser being deployed. Mwamba can be heard saying “Are you serious?”

After an apparent struggle, another click can be heard, signifying handcuffs. An officer says, “You’re a dumb bitch, you know that?”

Mwamba then asks, “What did I do?”

“You just tried to run over an officer,” he says.

Mwamba was charged for that allegation, but, according to the Baltimore Sun, the charges were later dropped.

Insley also alleges that police deleted the video from Mwamba’s phone when she was arrested. She was able to recover the footage because it was sent to her DropBox, Insley said.

Court records state Mwamba filed the lawsuit last week. Insley said he identified 27 police officers at the scene, all of whom are connected to the incident. The spotlight turned on the case Monday, when Insley posted the video.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and police brass held a press conference saying that the police department saw a decrease in the number of complaints about officers over the last year.

BPD “made reforms to ensure the highest standards of accountability and ethical integrity by enhancing and increasing training among officers, as well as restructuring the internal process and procedures of submitting reports. As a result of these reforms, according to recent official statistics, BPD has seen a significant decrease in excessive force and discourtesy complaints,” a release from the mayor’s office states.

After fielding a response from a Twitter user who asked if he could fly along on FoxTrot, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was asked about the video during Monday night’s Twitter Town Hall.

“Internal Affairs and the SAO [State’s Attorney’s Office] are still investigating,” Batts replies. “We have seen dramatic reductions in complaints this year.”

Insley then jumps into the conversation. He says police reviewed the video months ago, and “wouldn’t answer our calls or call us back. Haven’t spoken to anyone in months.”

“My understanding is the case was sent to the SAO for review after the interviews were completed,” Batts replies.

Police put out a separate statement after the Town Hall calling the language used in the video offensive and unacceptable, and saying the video does not provide enough evidence to draw enough conclusions to determine what happened during the incident.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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