Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook, of Chantilly, Virginia are new converts to Mapquest. The couple was returning from watching the Baltimore Orioles beat Kansas City when they became lost trying to find the interstate – a very common occurrence for people not familiar with Baltimore. Their mistake was assuming that Officer Natalie Preston was there to help them. When they pulled over to ask her for directions, she gave them a ticket for running a stop sign and then refused to give him even a hint of how to get back on the interstate. When they then tried to ask another officer, Preston allegedly pulled over and not only prevented that officer from giving directions, but proceeded to arrest the couple for trespass. I just saw this story from 2006 and I am trying to determine its current status.
Kelly recounted that when they asked Preston for directions she responded, “you found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.”
Preston, a six-year veteran, then saw the couple pull over next to another cruiser and immediately intervened. Kelly recounted her saying “my partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I’m not.”
She then proceeded to arrest them.
I have to say that this is not the first time that I have heard complaints from people at Baltimore games about the attitude of Baltimore police officers. However, if proven true, this account would indicate someone who should not be given law enforcement authority.
Ironically, the city has been trying to get officers to be nicer to people, including tourists with a new policy that discourages arrest when advice is sufficient:
“It is important to remember that a timely word of advice rather than arrest … can be a more effective means of achieving a desired end.”
The Baltimore police have contested their story and said that the couple was “argumentative,” here. In her police report, Preston does not appear to even mention that the couple was seeking directions. Instead the report states: “The driver, Mr. Kelley, became argumentative and began attempting to tear the citation out of the book … and I had to take it out of his hands.” Kelley denies that account.
These would not appear to be the type of people who lack respect for officers as a general matter: both Kelley’s and Brook’s parents are police officers in Pennsylvania.
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