Couple Arrested for Asking Police for Directions
A Virginia couple was arrested by a rude Baltimore police officer for asking for directions.
Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions. WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins said Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook, of Chantilly, Va., got lost leaving an Orioles game on Saturday. Collins reported a city officer arrested them for trespassing on a public street while they were asking for directions .
“In jail for eight hours — sleeping on a concrete floor next to a toilet,” Kelly said. “It was a nightmare,” Brook said. “I was in there thinking I was just dreaming and waiting to wake up.”
Collins reported it was a nightmare ending to a nearly perfect day. He said the couple went to a company picnic and watched the Orioles beat Kansas City. It was their first trip to Camden Yards and asked two people for directions to Interstate 95 South when they left.
Collins said somehow they ended up in the Cherry Hill section of south Baltimore. Hopelessly lost, relief melted away concerns after they spotted a police vehicle. “I said, ‘Thank goodness, could you please get us to 95?” Kelly said. “The first thing that she said to us was no — you just ran that stop sign, pull over,” Brook said. “It wasn’t a big deal. We’ll pay the stop sign violation, but can we have directions?” “What she said was ‘You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.'” Kelly said. Collins said the couple spotted another police vehicle and flagged that officer down for directions. But Officer Natalie Preston, a six-year veteran of the force, intervened. “That really threw us for a loop when she stepped in between our cars,” Kelly said. “(She) said my partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I’m not.”
Collins reported the circumstances got worse. Kelly pulled 40 feet forward parking next to a curb and put his flashers on while Brook was on the phone to her father hoping he could help her with directions. Both her parents are police officers in the Harrisburg, Pa., area. “(Brook’s father) was in the middle of giving us directions when the officer screeched up behind us and got out of the car and asked me to step out. I obeyed,” Kelly said. “I obeyed everything — stepped out of the car, put my hands behind my back, and the next thing I know, I was getting arrested for trespassing.” “By this time, I was completely in tears,” Brook said. “I said, ‘Ma’am, you know, we just need your help. We are not trying to cause you any trouble. I’m not leaving him here.’ What she did was walk over to my side of the car and said, ‘Ok, we are taking you downtown, too.'”
Collins said the couple was released from jail without being charged with anything. Brook is now concerned the arrest may complicate a criminal background check she’s going through in her job as a child care worker. Collins said police left Kelly’s car unlocked and the windows down at the impound lot. He reported a cell phone charger, pair of sunglasses and 20 CDs were stolen.
Baltimore City police said they are looking into the incident.
While this sounds incredibly bizarre and we have only the Collins’ version of events, it strikes me as completely plausible. In my experience, police officers on traffic duty at sporting events are almost without exception unprofessional jerks.
Sadly, this is rather widespread. Somehow, we’ve gone from the idealized notion of police officers as polite professionals (think: “Dragnet,” “Adam-12,” or “Hawaii Five-O”) to cops as disrespectful toughs (think: “Dirty Harry,” “Hill Street Blues” or “Cops”). While all but the last of these is fictional, and the “good old days” of Sergeant Joe Friday likely never quite existed, there does seem to have been a paradigm shift along the way. Indeed, the fact that the officers on “Cops” and similar shows know they’re being filmed for television and still behave in a manner hard to differentiate from the criminals they’re chasing is indicative of something. And it isn’t good.