Update, December 22, 2015, 5:15 p.m.
Police Chief Jim Johnson today decided temporarily to transfer the officer who used a closed fist to strike man who resisted arrest in Towson Saturday morning. The officer, assigned to the Towson precinct, will be moved from patrol to administrative duties. Given the controversy over this call and the fact that a review is under way, Chief Johnson said this is best for everyone, including the officer.
Baltimore County Police will review an incident involving a Towson officer and a 19-year-old man who resisted arrest when the officer attempted to charge him with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
Cell phone video taken by a bystander and circulated on YouTube shows three officers trying to place Zachary Carson Blumenstein of the 8400 block Ellingson Dr., Chevy Chase, under arrest. One of the officers strikes Blumenstein in the head several times as he resists.
BCoPD takes the use of force seriously and will review this incident for compliance with use of force training, Chief Jim Johnson said. Use of force training requires officers to use the least amount of force needed to bring a situation under control and to escalate the use of force based on circumstances. Johnson said that while it appears that the officer did escalate the use of force as required by BCoPD policy, he is concerned about the officer's use of a closed fist to strike the suspect several times. Johnson said he will look closely at the entire incident to evaluate this specific use of force. He said his initial reaction is that other techniques for achieving restraint and compliance could have been more effective at that moment in the altercation.
Officers faced with violent, chaotic situations often must use force to protect themselves and others.
Police and court records show that a BCoPD officer first approached Blumenstein about 40 minutes before the events depicted in the video, at 1:20 a.m. when they saw him engaged in a verbal disturbance in front of the The Greene Turtle, a bar and restaurant. Five other male civilians 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.
At about 2 a.m., the officer saw Blumenstein push a man into York Road, in the 400 block. The officer informed Blumenstein he was under arrest, and Blumenstein resisted. The officer told Blumenstein to stop resisting, but he did not. Another officer arrived to assist with the arrest, which Blumenstein continued to resist. The officer used pepper spray to attempt to subdue the suspect, but he continued to refuse to comply with the officer.
Blumenstein is charged with resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, trespass and failure to obey a police officer. He was released on his own recognizance.
Booking photo of Zachary Carson Blumenstein