A Baltimore police officer caught on his own body cam video on May 30 tackling and arresting a man has been charged with assault, false imprisonment and misconduct.
Baltimore Police Sergeant Ethan Newberg, 49, a 24-year-veteran, told his fellow officers to arrest a witness, Lee Dotson, who criticized their tactics while they detained another man.
Newberg said Dotson, a pedestrian at the time of the incident, was “interfering.”
Body cam footage released on Friday tells a different tale before Dotson was arrested.
Newberg can be seen in the video taking off running, chasing then grabbing Dotson after he commented about police detaining the man sitting on the wet ground.
“From what I saw, the man did nothing to provoke Sgt. Newberg, whose actions were not just wrong but deeply disturbing,” Baltimore police commissioner Michael Harrison told the Baltimore Sun.
“Be tough on crime, but be soft on people.”
Dotson had never encountered Newberg before but said he thought the sergeant seemed to really want to teach him a lesson for talking to police as he walked by.
“He was like, ‘Was it worth it? Was it worth you getting locked up?'” Dotson recalled.
Dotson didn’t think the charges against him would stick anyway.
“He was like, ‘I just want to inconvenience you,'” he said.
“He said ‘as long as I don’t here from you, I won’t come to court.'”
I happened on May 30 as Dotson was walking back from a crab restaurant when he saw Newberg, another officer and the man being detained.
“Don’t make that man sit on the wet ground,” Dotson tells them.
“Why don’t you mind your business,” Newberg can be heard replying.
Dotson kept walking, but continues saying the officers shouldn’t have the man on the wet ground.
That’s when Newberg gets up and runs after Dotson, tackling him.
“Like he was coming to tackle me,” Dotson said on Friday.
A crowd gathered as some recorded the arrest with their cell phones.
“Get off of me! Get off of me! I’m suing. It’s freedom of speech. You are violating my amendments,” Dotson says as he’s being arrested.
Newberg, who has been suspended without pay, clocked enough overtime to receive $243,000 for 2018, the second most pay of any city employee and more than the mayor.
Watch body cam footage of the incident above.