Montgomery Co. Councilwoman writes to police chief addressing possible use of excessive force in teen's caught-on-tape arrest
GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJLA) – A Montgomery County Councilwoman is joining the push for answers after she saw a video, captured by an ABC 7 I-Team photographer, of a county police officer grabbing a teenager by the throat during an arrest.
The images show an MCPD officer arresting 16-year-old Keelan Senior at the Germantown Commons shopping center. Police say they were responding to two 911 calls: one complaining about teens smoking pot, the other about a group of African-American males fighting.
Keelan was singled out and arrested for failing to tell the officer his name, and for having a cigar in his possession. He did not have any drugs.
The video sparked outrage for some and concern for others.
Montgomery County Councilwoman Cherri Branson (D) wants to understand what happened, so she sent a letter to Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger addressing the potential excessive use of force.
“I was curious as to why the young man was pursued after it was clear that marijuana was not being smoked,” Branson said.
ABC 7 News was recently denied access to the 911 calls in question. In a letter, Montgomery County Police said the “recordings are a confidential police recording concerning a child and may not be disclosed … except by the order of the court.”
Branson says it’s crucial the results of the investigation be made public.
“Not having a sense of transparency with the review of this incident, you know, caused me a little concern,” she said. “It’s about the people being able to trust and have confidence in law enforcement.”
Keelan’s mother, Yolanda Mike, told ABC 7 News she is pleased to hear of Councilwoman Branson’s letter. She hopes appropriate action is taken and the facts are truly considered.
A spokeswoman for Chief Manger says he has received the letter, but will not comment on it until he has had a chance to speak with Councilwoman Branson.