The chair of Baltimore’s Community Oversight Task Force is stepping down after a police body-worn camera video surfaced showing an officer’s confrontation with him.
With time to reflect, Rev. Marvin McKenstry says he was in the wrong.
“It makes me apologetic to the people of Baltimore, to the relationships that I’ve established over the years after working with the Baltimore Police Department and to this great task force of people that has trusted me to lead them for 11 months,” he said.
The man tasked with leading the charge on bringing police and the community together was caught in what he calls a shameful moment.
Body-worn camera video captures the exchange between McKenstry and Sgt. Terrance McGowan after a traffic stop where McKenstry was accused of being double-parked.
In the video, the officer asks for McKenstry’s license and registration, McKenstry refuses, and it escalates from there.
“Maybe I just believe in the process that we’re at a place now where we should be able to have conversation beyond lawful demands if people are seeking some understanding,” he said.
The officer asked repeatedly – ultimately slapping McKenstry with four traffic citations – the most expensive was a $290 ticket for willfully disobeying a lawful order from a police officer.
On Tuesday, McKenstry stepped down as chair; a position he’s held for almost a year.
Ray Kelly, the task force’s new chair, says despite McKenstry’s actions – there was a teachable moment for all parties involved.
“There are issues with engagement with police officers and how they present to our residents. So I think, once again it’s a matter of it’s a bad day, and this has happened two or 300 times since Freddie Gray and this is why we are here and this is what we’re trying to change,” Kelly said.
Regardless, McKenstry says he’s taking full responsibility and now he’s working to build back the task force’s progress.
“I feel as though allowing myself regardless of what the situation was to be captured in that sort of imagery, it undermines that trust that people have invested in you and I’m the kind of person that that trust is important. It’s not something that should be overlooked. So again, I have no problem apologizing – even to the people of Baltimore,” he said.
McKensty says he and the police department came up with a resolution weeks ago.
Despite him stepping down as chair, he will still serve on the task force.