Maryland police pulled a woman over for speeding Monday before turning their attention to her boyfriend sitting in the passenger’s seat whom they suspected had a warrant for his arrest.
But Antoine Wedington refused to identify himself on the basis he was not driving the car when Anne Arundel County police pulled them over for driving 45 mph in a 30 mph speed zone.
Maryland, in fact, is not a “stop and ID” state meaning a person is under no legal obligation to identify themselves if police do not have a reasonable suspicion they are committing a crime. And that usually entails physical or visible evidence connecting a person to a crime. Not just a mere suspicion based on feeling.
But in this case, Anne Arundel County police said they were able to determine Wedington had a warrant for his arrest without him identifying himself which is why they pulled him out of the car by force.
Wedington’s girlfriend, Heather Janney, recorded the altercation, uploading three videos to Tik Tok where they have been viewed millions of times, generating thousands of comments, mostly criticizing the cops for their aggressive behavior.
But police say they were justified in their actions because Wedington refused to step out of the car when ordered to do so.
Wedington claims in the video he is trying to step out of the car but the cops won’t let him do it without manhandling him. The cops claim they had given him plenty of time but he refused to do so. The first video does not begin until seconds before they pull him out so we are unable to see what led up to the arrest.
Wedington was arrested and charged with resisting and interfering and at first was not allowed to bond out because of the warrant. But Maryland court records online show that a judge granted him a $1,000 bond on Thursday. It is not clear at this time if he has bonded out.
According to Maryland court records, Wedington was arrested for second-degree assault in September 2016 and was sentenced to a five-year sentence the following year even though that charge is considered a misdemeanor in Maryland. The online records do not include links to documents but it appears that the sentence was reduced to two years upon appeal which he apparently served and was placed on parole. He then went on to miss some court dates which is what led to the arrest warrant.
According to Fox 5 DC:
They say Wedington was wanted under two warrants: one for failure to appear in court, and a retake warrant from the parole commission. Officers say they recognized Wedington during the traffic stop.
Janney, his girlfriend, has said they would like to take legal action which would boil down to whether or not police had reasonable suspicion Wedington was connected to a crime.
Police have not explained how they were able to confirm his identification before arresting him but the fact he had active warrants will likely make it tougher to challenge the arrest in court although it would be interesting to observe.
He would have a very strong chance of winning in court if he had no active warrants because Maryland is not a stop and ID state which means they cannot arrest him for the mere fact of not identifying himself – even if they had reasonable suspicion he was committing a crime. They would have to first arrest him for that crime before he would be required to identify himself.
Below is a statement from the Anne Arundel County Police Department: