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Baltimore Police Change Story on Drug Custody Death

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #752)
Drug War Issues

A 46-year-old Baltimore man died Friday night after allegedly swallowing drugs as police attempted to arrest him. The as yet unidentified man becomes the 47th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

[Update: The man has been identified as Anthony Anderson, a black male. The police story has evolved. The original version follows below. The updated version appears after that.]

According to Baltimore police spokesman Donny Moses, officers observed the man selling drugs at the corner of Montford and Biddle Streets early Friday evening. As they attempted to place him under arrest, he placed an unknown amount of drugs in his mouth and swallowed. Within minutes, he became ill.

Police transported him to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center for treatment, but he was pronounced dead a short time later. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Not everyone is buying the police version of events. One local minister told the Baltimore Sun he is investigating what happened.

"There are some sharp differences between the accounts of the eyewitnesses and what we're hearing from the police," said the Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, local leader of the Southern Leadership Christian Conference. "We have tremendous concerns about what took place," Witherspoon said, adding that he would not characterize them until he has more information.

Baltimore police said investigations are underway by both the homicide and the internal affairs divisions.

[Update: The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that police revised their initial account Monday, saying the cause of death was unclear pending an autopsy. Police also acknowledged that Anderson had physical injuries, including at least one broken bone.

The Sun also reported that "an account that describes Anderson being manhandled by police has whipped through the neighborhood, and those who have had encounters with police say it fits into their perception of overly aggressive drug police they refer to as 'knockers.'"

Dozens of people rallied Tuesday at the trash-strewn field where Anderson died, where activists said they saw the incident as yet another reason for their ongoing protests against police brutality and corruption. They called for city residents to attend Anderson's funeral as small children held signs reading"Jail Killer Police."]

Activists leading the rally Tuesday — the Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon and Sharon Black, who represents All People's Congress — said they want to use the incident to step up their ongoing protests against what they say is police brutality and corruption.

They've called for residents across the city to attend Anderson's funeral and march through the streets afterward. Small children held signs that read "Jail Killer Police."

Police said they continued to investigate and asked for patience.].


Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Joy div (not verified)


Far too many police regard so called criminals lives as meaning nothing, the more information you see and read confirms this from 3 strikes to a sly knee in the back when the person being arrested is complying fully.   

Sun, 09/23/2012 - 7:39pm Permalink
gary Mandell (not verified)

In reply to by Joy div (not verified)

Once again we see the police overly aggressive with simple drug arrests. When is the government going to realize that prohibition is NOT the answer.We spend billions of $ on eradication and it has been a dismal failure.We had a great example of what prohibition does to the people when the volsted act was passed.Except this is a thousand times worse. Death, ruin of families, petty arrests,brutal police who think they run the planet,and so much more.I say to the government; GIVE IT UP!!!! Follow the constitution and allow people the freedom to run thier lives,when it doesn't hurt anyone else. Baltimore police: Stop your gestapo tactics and serve the people,not your own agenda.

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 4:25pm Permalink

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