A freelance photographer says he was arrested for taking pictures of Baltimore Police breaking up a party on Friday night.
Police, meanwhile, said the photographer, Noah Scialom, refused to leave and blocked the flow of partygoers who had been ordered out, and tried to discard a bag of marijuana after being taken to Central Booking. They say a CCTV camera shows that Scialom was in the way, and that the organizer of the party will face charges as well.
In an interview, Scialom said "the police account is full of lies."
"There were tons of people around, and I was singled out for taking photographs," he said. "I'm not the only person they told not to take pictures - I'm the only one who didn't stop."
This morning in a post on the City Paper website, where Scialom is a contributor (he also has taken photos for the Baltimore Sun Media Group), outlined how he had been aggressively ordered out of the Summa venue, formerly known as the Coward Shoe.
The City Paper has previously written about the shutdown of other similar parties, and the murky regulatory issues related to so-called "DIY spaces."
In a letter to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Remington resident Hayden Barnes urged the city to come up with new regulations to allow such events to prosper, likening the situation to the city's early troubles with food trucks. He said the art spaces aren't concert halls, movie theaters, or art galleries but "a little bit of all of those."
"Baltimore is going to lose these art spaces, just like our food truck scene never got off the ground, and the young, affluent, entrepreneurial, money-spending, taxpaying young people that come with them," he wrote.
The Police Department remains locked in litigation with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and a Howard County man who said his photos were deleted by officers at the Preakness after he recorded them making an arrest. The department has since drafted new guidelines affirming the public's right to take photos, though the rules also say that the person recording may not "violate any section of any law, ordinance, code or criminal article" in doing so.
The ACLU declined to comment on Scialom's arrest.