Police investigating use of force at Towson bar

Posted at 4:52 PM, Dec 20, 2015

Baltimore County police are reviewing an incident involving a 19-year-old college student and a police officer outside of a popular Towson bar early Saturday morning.

Cell phone video that went viral shows three officers attempting to arrest Zachary Blumenstein, a Dickinson College student around 1:20 a.m.  at the Greene Turtle on York Road. One of the officers punches Blumenstein several times in the head while he is on the ground in handcuffs.

In a release, Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said the department “takes the use of force seriously” and will review the incident for compliance with use of force training. He noted that he is “concerned about the officer’s use of a closed fist,” and said his initial reaction is that other techniques for achieving restraint and compliance could have been more effective. 

Police said an officer first approached Blumenstein about 40 minutes before the events depicted in the video when they saw him arguing in front of The Greene Turtle. Five men were trying to restrain Blumenstein. The officer ordered Blumenstein to leave. Blumenstein remained verbally combative, yelling profanities, and the five men moved him from the location, according to police

Forty minutes later police said they saw Blumenstein push a man into York Road and moved in to make an arrest. Police said he resisted even after being pepper sprayed.

Police charged Blumenstein with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, trespass and failure to obey a police officer. He was released on his own recognizance.