The Annapolis Police Department opened internal investigations after an officer pepper sprayed a man following a fight in downtown Annapolis and then arrested him despite telling another officer he “didn’t do anything.”
Body camera footage provided to The Capital shows the aftermath of a March 11 incident outside Armadillo’s Bar & Grill at City Dock. The footage shows Officer Jamal Davis discussing what to do after spraying Ryan Greenstreet, 23, of Huntingtown, and Michael Richardson, 21, of West River.
Davis says several times he does not plan to charge Greenstreet, but others officers off-screen question his decision. Police eventually charged Greenstreet with interfering with an arrest and Richardson with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Tuesday, the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the charge against Greenstreet during a hearing in District Court. Emily Morse, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney, said prosecutors decided not to go forward after reviewing the body camera footage.
John H. Robinson, Greenstreet’s attorney, called on prosecutors to investigate officers involved in the arrest, claiming police “colluded to manufacture a charge.” He said there were discrepancies between body camera footage and Davis’ written statement of charges.
The department opened a routine use of force investigation “immediately after” Davis sprayed Greenstreet and Richardson, said Sgt. Amy Miguez, a department spokeswoman. An administrative review also is underway.
Miguez declined to comment further, citing the open investigation. Morse said prosecutors referred the incident to the police department for “initial investigation.”
The Capital reviewed seven different videos showing multiple officers discussing Greenstreet and Richardson’s involvement in the fight at Armadillo’s, Davis’ use of pepper spray and whether to charge Greenstreet. One video shows Greenstreet in custody, while a supervising officer asks him and a friend about concerns with police conduct.
Police said in the footage Richardson took part in a fight earlier in the night. The fight is not on the body camera footage that The Capital reviewed.
Richardson was still wrestling with another man, police say, when he tried to resist arrest as Officer Brandon Ellis approached him. Davis describes seeing Greenstreet approach the fight “like he was trying to jump in the mix.”
In another conversation, Davis says Greenstreet was “kind of like walking over to see what’s going on” and that he used pepper spray to “back everybody up.”
Davis sprayed Greenstreet, then sprayed Richardson as he saw Ellis struggling.
Davis wrote in charging documents that he noticed Greenstreet on the sidewalk in front of the bar.
“He had his arms projected forward and he was lunging towards Off. Ellis and Mr. Richardson,” he wrote. “I quickly stepped in between Mr. Greenstreet and Off. Ellis. I then deployed my oleoresin capsicum spray.”
On the body camera footage, Davis said he had no initial desire to charge Greenstreet. Greenstreet “is not in any trouble, he didn’t do anything,” Davis tells another officer. “He was just coming towards it (the fight).”
In other footage, Davis says that he’s “not really comfortable charging him (Greenstreet)” and maintains that Greenstreet is innocent when another officer asks.
“You read the police report and you watch the body camera tapes and they’re completely at odds with each other,” Robinson said after Greenstreet’s trial. “I think the tapes show there was collusion to manufacture a charge.”
In one video, two unidentified officers walk away from Armadillo’s to discuss the situation. One says he thinks Davis “did the right thing, he just needs to articulate it the right way.” The other responds “correct.” The two officers agree Greenstreet was “causing an officer safety issue for Ellis” and that he needed to be charged.
Later, Davis and the other officers agree on a hindrance charge, despite Davis’ initial reluctance.
Both Greenstreet and his roommate, Valerie Anastasi, can be heard on the video questioning Davis’ actions and the resulting arrest.
“I walked outside and got hit in the face. That’s not, that’s not right,” Greenstreet says.
Ellis noted this in charging documents against Richardson, writing that he and Davis “observed a larger group of people fight(ing).”
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Richardson’s trial is set for June 25. His attorney, Jennifer Alexander, said Richardson will plead not guilty and will also be challenging the “veracity” and “credibility” of the officers as part of his defense.