ACLU of Maryland Statement - Police Cordon of Harlem Park
The following can be attributed to David Rocah, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Maryland:
"The ACLU is concerned about the police cordon that is being imposed on the Harlem Park neighborhood, following an interaction that resulted in the tragic death of a Baltimore homicide detective. We are also troubled by reports that some persons entering or leaving the area have been subject to pat down searches, and that non-residents have been barred from entering the area.
"While the search for a killer is, of course, a high priority for the police, the limits on lawful police behavior do not disappear even when engaged in that pursuit. And at least one federal appellate court has said that a similar police cordon and checkpoint system was unconstitutional.
"The residents of Baltimore, and, in particular, the residents of the affected community, deserve a clear explanation from the City as to why this unprecedented action has been taken, what rules are being enforced, and why it is lawful. The need to secure a crime scene from contamination to preserve evidence does not, on its face, explain the wide area to which access has been restricted for days after the incident."
On-the-ground information is scarce to those outside the cordon because access to residents, including by the media, has also been restricted. For that reason, we encourage anyone who has this kind of information to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.