Baltimore Police are notorious for their ruthlessness and intimidation, but one officer stepped over the line and has been relieved of duty tonight, thanks to a citizen journalist documenting the moment he threatened a crowd of innocent people with his firearm in a poignant photograph shared on Instagram.
The Baltimore PD officer wasn’t wearing a name badge at the time either, the only officer in the photo to lack proper identification on his service uniform.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Police still refuse to identify the officer.
Assault is the act of creating apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact with a person, and surely, this Baltimore Police officer scared some of the assembled crowd – or made them fear an “officer involved shooting” or potentially an accidental discharge – to the point that a fellow officer had to tell him to put the gun down.
Noah Scialom is a citizen journalist and freelance photographer whose photojournalism has been published by the Baltimore Sun, and his profile lists him as a, “local photographer capturing portraits of everyday Baltimore with aspirations of one day becoming a wire photojournalist.”
Scialom shot photos during the Baltimore Uprising and at Mondawmin Mall the afternoon of Freddie Gray’s funeral, seven of which found their way into NBC News coverage of that day’s events.
This week, he captured a Baltimore PD cop pulling out his loaded service weapon, and threatening a crowd with that gun. There were 20-30 people riding dirt bikes on city streets, not itself a crime.
Now the officer has been stripped of his badge and gun, confined to administrative duty while a police investigation proceeds.
He's on administrative duty. No badge. No gun. https://t.co/Hc2IA0Amoc
— Credible Threat (@BaltoSpectator) August 11, 2015
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to fire cops and the Baltimore FOP is notoriously rabid about making sure no matter how abusive a cop is, so long as he doesn’t blow the whistle, that cop can get away with just about anything.
Scialom was quoted in the local media as saying that the other officers weren’t “crazy” and it was just the one bad apple this time. Gun owners are told in basic training sessions to always treat all weapons as loaded, and to never point a firearm at an individual unless one is doing so in self-defense.
Local independent journalist James MacArthur – who writes the Baltimore Spectator – recorded a 5 minute podcast embedded below which captures the incredulous anger he felt in seeing those whose job to enforce the law standing idly by while one of their own broke the law they swore to defend.
Baltimore is a city writhing in the grip of lawless police and gun violence, but this incident shook the veteran reporter, for it’s callous disregard for professional police standards even in Charm City.