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...
Memo to the public: This young couple was probably up to no good and more than likely made up the story about the mean, nasty cop giving them a hard time. Just look at their photo, don't they remind you of Bonnie & Clyde? They both look like killers to me and were looking to "hit" someone at the ballgame. We, at the Baltimore Police Department, are always on the alert looking for nefarious law breakers acting like they are lost. Had it not been for our officer's training at the donut shop, chances were good this young couple might have escaped the confines of greater Baltimore.
Mayor of Baltimore
I read the post the other day. There may be more here, but at face value, a civil rights complaint should be filed with the DOJ.
I lived north of Baltimore for a year when I got out of the Navy. I hated the whole area. One night my wife, my friend, and myself went to a O's game. Having never been to the inner harbor area, we parked about 2 miles away from the stadium. It was late when the game was called for rain, and we left by the same gate we entered. However, we turned the wrong way out of that gate, and soon found our three lily-white middle class butts wandering down streets we had no business being on. Taxis would not stop for us. Finally finding a cop parked at a bus stop, we asked for help. His response to my story..."Go back that way." "Can't you help us any more than that?" "No." Drives away. Fortunately we got a cab to stop after stepping in front of it.
I lived near Cherry hill and believe me it better to be in jail than get lost in Cherry Hill. Jokes aside isn't all the streets in Cherry Hill public. Is it possible to trespass on public property?
I agree. Take another look at that photo; it's one of the most laughable poses I've seen in a long time, an obvious setup in an attempt to gin up sympathy for the couple.
My guess is the cop thought they were snotty rich white kids looking to buy some drugs, they gave the cop some attitude, and she gave them some right back.
When I saw the picture of the couple, I lost all sympathy. Not because they are white, but because they chose to pose for such a silly "poor poor me" photograph.
Its not THAT bad. But yes parts of the city are very run down and depressed.
I once got lost in downtown Miami, trying to find the old Miami Arena, and a Latino cop took his time to help me out to find the arena.
Shame on this Baltimore cop.
Maybe the officer knows that all she needs is a BS arrest like this to get a few hours sitting back at HQ doing paperwork rather than risking her life on the streets of Baltimore.
"a permanent record that can be expunged only if they agree not to sue."
SEIG HEIL! Hitler and Stalin would certainly approve of this sort of tactic!
Ah well, no more time for FR today, I'm off to the state convention as a delegate.
A trip I am less than enthused about, but find necessary in order to try to keep the above sort of insanity from spreading.
Have to drum up some more business to justify the budgets. Just look harder. You'll find someone breaking the law.
Something this serious calls for overtime also.
Is "attitude" a criminal offense? I get "attitude" from people all the time - should I kidnap them, toss them in a cage overnight, have their car stolen and held for ransom, demand some of their wealth, and blacken their record? Doesn't matter to me how "fake" the photo is - the cop appears to be the true offender, and not the kids.
No, but it is a virtual guarantee that it will cause said cop to write you up for minor violations, which are criminal offenses, that she would otherwise have ignored.
Especially if she thinks you were there to break the law in the first place.
Only if you are a public servant.
I'm not suprised some of the cop groupies on FR are attacking these kids. Anybody who's ever had a run-in with a bad cop knows differently. For the first time in my life, I agree with the ACLU.
What were they trespassing onto? Isn't a street a public thoroughfare?
Do you have any other hobbies besides being cop groupies?
Certainly some LEO's are jerks, and other cops think they are jerks too. If this couples story is accurate then this officer turned what could be a positive contact into some out of court settlement but we ususally never get the straight scoop from the media do we?
Driving While White?
Have to agree---that pose looked something like the Sinkmeister and MRS BILL CLINTON dancing in their bathing suits on a "deserted" beach. Oh, yeck, now I'm sick.
Sue the Hell out of this craphole city. Bankrupt their asses for a $100 million.
I'd sacrifice my record to sue the crap of those overzealous, egomaniac idiots in blue.
Please note that I only refer some of the cops, not all by any means.
what was the name of that movie with Dan Aklyroyd? Nothing But Trouble?
Now THERE was a terrible movie.
My understanding is they stopped and asked the cop directions. When she wouldn't help they stopped at the next cop they saw and attempted to ask. Really doesn't sound like someone looking for drugs.
I, too, got a ticket in the Baltimore suburbs for approaching a stopped cop car to ask for directions. No questions asked; just "license and registration, please" and then a half-hour wait in 90-degree weather for *her* to return my ID and the ticket, which I easily beat in court.
Female cops, like female pastors, are often the worst "authority jocks" out there, due to inner insecurity. Why they would pick on a middle-aged white woman in an old-fart car, dressed for church and on her way home from church, is beyond me, except that they saw me as an "easy ticket."