Police body cameras clear Annapolis suspect

Officer pepper sprays bystander at bar fight

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -

A fight at a City Dock bar in Annapolis brought police to a chaotic scene on March 10th, and the officers' cameras tell part of the story---not of how a young man allegedly tussled with an officer, but how one of his fellow officers came to pepper spray 23-year-old Ryan Greenstreet.

           

You can hear him pleading his case on this recording.

 

"I walked outside and got hit in the face,” Greenstreet told police, “That's not right."

           

Greenstreet later told his attorney, John H. Robinson, a similar account.

 

"Mr. Greenstreet was minding his own business.  Someone he knew was in an altercation in the street,” recounted Robinson, “Mr. Greenstreet was literally in a doorway and turned to watch what was going on when he got pepper sprayed."

           

When Robinson watched the footage from the police body cameras, he found the officer who sprayed him suggesting his client hadn't done anything wrong.

 

"Is this one being arrested too?"

"No.  I guess he's his friend, so he was kind of like walking over to see what's going on.  I was like 'Pffftttt'.  Everybody was a little too close.  Back everybody up."

"Collateral damage?"

"Yep."

           

The officer reiterated that Greenstreet was blameless in the minutes that followed---not once...

 

"This guy is not in any trouble.  He didn't do anything."

           

But twice.

 

"Are you going to charge him?"

"I'm not really comfortable charging him."

"But you're comfortable with spraying him?"

           

What followed would ultimately sink the case against Greenstreet as officers tried to come up with some way to charge him.

 

"Well, we gonna charge him with assault, interference, hindrance... something?  You sprayed him," one officer could be heard saying.

 

"I think he did the right thing,” said another, “He just needs to articulate it the right way."

 

When the suspect showed up for trial this week, prosecutors dropped the charge after watching the body cam videos.

 

"It appears that there were conversations in trying to come up with something... something... to charge this young man with, because he was pepper sprayed for no reason, which is an assault,” said Robinson, “It's also a violation of the use of force regulations, and if it is a violation of the use of force, then the officers are subjected to internal discipline, potential criminal charges, civil liability.  So it looks like they were just circling the wagons.  It's the coverup that always gets you."

 

A spokesperson with the Annapolis Police Department says there is now an internal investigation underway into the arrest.

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