WASHINGTON — An Anne Arundel County police officer is suspended after attempting to stop someone from recording him during a call over the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, Anne Arundel County police Cpl. Scott Wolford responded to a dispute call involving a homeowner and some people from a delivery company in the 8200 block of Sebring Court in Severn, Maryland. During the response, one of the people involved in the dispute recorded Wolford.
A Facebook video shows Wolford asking if he was being recorded, mocking the person taking the video and then trying to grab the device. Wolford, who has been on the force for nine years, did not seize the recording device, said Anne Arundel County police spokesman Marc Limansky.
Wolford’s actions are in violation of the police department’s policy, Limansky said.
The general public has the First Amendment right to shoot video, take a photo and/or record audio of officers while they are conducting official business in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity or cause a dangerous situation for the individuals involved.
The police department suspended Wolford’s police powers pending an investigation by its Internal Affairs Unit. Upon completion of the investigation, Chief Timothy Altomare will decide his punishment.
Wolford’s actions are harmful to the department’s reputation, Limansky said.
“Actions like this are a detriment to the relationships we have fostered, and we really have to work hard to rebuild the trust in the community that we have worked so hard to earn,” he said.
Police found the video on Facebook during a routine social-media search. Police are trying to contact the person who took the video as part of the investigation.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report from Washington.
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