City officer stops National Guardsman from filming protesters
One small irony of Wednesday night’s protest against city police is that a single Baltimore police officer – Deputy Major B.G. Douglas – defused one of the few moments of tension when the protest stopped between City Hall and War Memorial. As the protest’s leaders spoke through microphones off the back of a pickup truck, two National Guard troops in full uniform weaved through the crowd and started filming them. Several protesters began questioning the one guardsman, Staff Sgt. Ron Lee, why he was filming.
“It’s my job,” Lee said.
Seeing that the protesters were frustrated with a uniformed soldier pointing a large, shoulder-mounted video camera at their speakers, Douglas told Lee to “stop agitating them.”
Dressed in a sharp white police shirt with a badge and gun, Douglas then sternly instructed Lee and his colleague, Sgt. Meg Taylor, to leave.
Lee and Taylor stopped filming and walked to a spot outside the protest.
Lee said he is a “video documentarian” for the Guard but expressed irritation for being asked to leave. “We’re here to provide peace,” Lee said. “We’re photo journalists just like any others here,” he added, pointing to the local and national TV news trucks lined up around the plaza.
But Taylor understood the frustration: “It’s the uniform.”
Still, Lee was frustrated with Douglas. "He didn’t want me to agitate them?”
“We’re here because of them,” he said, referring to city police.
Asked why Douglas told the soldiers to walk away?
“I’ve been around awhile,” he said with a grin.
- Doug Donovan, Baltimore Sun reporter