Skip to comments.Couple arrested for trespassing hire attorney, plan to sue the city
Posted on 05/18/2006 10:34:01 AM PDT by freepatriot32
BALTIMORE - The Virginia couple arrested Saturday for trespassing after getting lost trying to find Interstate 95 have retained an attorney and plan to sue the city.
In view of whats happened, its a given, said Dale Anstine, an attorney in York, Pa., who is representing the family. I personally know these people; they are good kids. I think the conduct of this police officer is beyond outrageous.
Llara Brook, 20, and her boyfriend, Josh Kelly, 22, traveled from Chantilly, Va., to Baltimore to see an Orioles game Saturday. The couple stopped in the 800 block of Bridgeview Drive in Cherry Hill to ask a Baltimore Housing Police Officer, Natalie Preston, for directions. Brook said the officer was blunt: You found your way in. You can find your way out.
After writing a citation for failure to obey a stop sign a ticket Kelly disputes the officer told them to leave. Confused, the couple drove about 40 feet and stopped.
We still didnt know how to get out, Kelly said.
But Preston pulled up behind them and arrested Kelly and Brook for trespassing, according to the ticket.
Anstine said he was currently gathering information about the incident and expected to file a lawsuit in two or three months.
Matt Jablow, a spokesman for the police department, said the incident is under investigation.
The police report contradicts the couples story, stating that Kelly was argumentative and refused to give the officers pen back after signing the citation for failure to stop.
Margaret Burns, spokeswoman for the States Attorneys Office, said her office declined to prosecute the couple based on the arresting documents. There are thousand of cases like this being thrown out every month, Burns said. In the month of February, we threw out 902 cases; in March, we threw out over 1,200 cases that means 70 cases a day.
Burns said nuisance arrests waste city resources that could be better used to fight violent crime. Somewhere within the Police Department there is a policy or directive to increase the number of arrests, or crime has gone up, she said. The officer spent hours on this case; its a waste of her time.
Jablow said there is no policy to increase arrests. Crime is down significantly this month, he said.
Meredith Curtis, spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the case is part of a larger trend. This is the latest, most egregious example of what has been demonstrated to be a pattern of illegal arrests, she said.
Curtis said that even though the charges were dropped, the couple will have a permanent record that can be expunged only if they agree not to sue. Its ridiculous and also unconstitutional.
They're white???? Well, there goes THAT theory!
You have to wonder why any city would think it's to their benefit to mistreat visitors to their downtown area.
Doesn't a prosecutable offense of trespassing require a malicious intent? (No lawyer here)
Odds are officer preston is black. My experience with the Baltimore official police (not housing police) has been very good except for one black female traffic cop who took offense at my anti kerry sign.
Well, there is an explanation.
He DID try to steal the police's ball-point pen, didn't he!
That should get him several years in jail.
Sounds as if some lawsuits are long overdue. Unfortunately this happens a lot of places.
I've heard that the only reason anyone would go to Baltimore in the first place is if you're lost.
The Balti-Morons should settle as quickly as they can. The PR for them can only get worse.
Certainly the officer still acted silly, but I'm just trying to make SOME sense out of a story that seems to not make any.
They are leaving out relevant facts here.
But hey -- it ain't the first time, and it won't be the last.
My impression of Baltimore was that if you are a vistor, you should stay within the inner harbor area. Outside of the inner harbor is like escape from new york.
Isn't that the same charge they used to try to smear the Able Danger whistle-blower?
Talk about rigging the system against you...
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