The Baltimore County Police Department released police body-cam footage of the Jan. 10 arrest of a 76-year-old Gywnn Oak grandmother who was shown earlier this month to have been “flipped and thrown to the ground” during an encounter with police when she interfered with the arrest of her 30-year-old granddaughter.
Rena Mellerson blocked Pikesville officer, Cpl. Brennan, from arresting Cierra Floyd who appeared to have called 911 from a different address to complain about a minor she said was causing trouble in the neighborhood. She said he was holding a stick, damaging vehicles and indicated that the boy was from a psychiatric hospital and called him a “Sheppard Pratt patient.”
Floyd told the 911 dispatcher that she had a knife. “Someone better hurry up before I cut this little boy,” she said, “I will cut this f—ing boy. Someone better come and f—ing get him,” she said on the 911 call.
The dispatcher informed Floyd that officers were on their way and asked her for the location of the knife. Floyd did not say, but told the dispatcher, “F—k the knife. Get the kid.” Floyd then hung up on the dispatcher.
Officers arrived at a Windsor Mill townhouse development where Floyd, who appeared to be holding an ice scraper, verbally taunted officers after first asking them for help with what she indicated was the disorderly boy.
The boy could be heard in the background sobbing, saying he was scared as she screamed. He was sitting in a transport van without a parent to receive him at the location.
The boy had ridden home in the van with Floyd’s child where the trouble allegedly began. But when officer’s arrived, she refused to file a complaint and called the officers “racist” as she taunted them from inside and outside of a home.
An officer, identified as Cpl. Brennan, warned her several times to stop being “disorderly.” Floyd did not relent. Brennan, other officers and Floyd bantered back and forth. Brennan asked Floyd repeatedly to get back into the house and close the door. Floyd continued to yell at the officers from her doorway.
Sound from some of the footage was cut off at points during discussions between the officers, leaving some of it inaudible.
Body-cam footage from Cpl. Brennan then showed his arrival at a second location, Floyd’s grandmother’s home, a while later. There, he attempted to arrest Floyd – at first without force – but eventually pointing a Taser at her, and later spraying her with pepper spray.
Floyd refused Brennan’s repeated requests to come out of the house. Her grandmother, Mellerson, who appeared to be conflicted, also refused to cooperate, and blocked the entrance to the foyer of her home and – with Floyd – rushed the door, slamming it on Brennan’s foot where it became lodged for roughly one minute. Brennan then shot his Taser through a crack in the door several times.
But amateur video footage that was shared on social media and went viral earlier this month only captured what occurred after Brennan received backup by a second officer who arrested Mellerson, after Brennan dislodged his foot and brought her out of her home.
The video was first released by WBAL-TV and showed an officer, identified by police as Ofc. Schmidt, running toward Mellerson, grabbing, twisting, and shoving or throwing her forcefully to the ground in an attempt to arrest her.
On the body-cam footage, Cpl. Brennan is heard saying to Ofc. Schmidt, “Easy. Be easy with her.”
Schmidt then told Mellerson, as he attempted to put her hands behind her back, “I need to find out what’s going on. You’re okay. Bend over.”
Baltimore County Police released the footage, 911 call and police transmission on Tuesday.
Court records show that Floyd has been charged with two counts of second degree assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Mellerson has been charged with second degree assault, interfering with arrest, and obstructing and hindering a police officer. Records show that their trial has been scheduled for March 10.
Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt released a statement with the footage, saying on Tuesday, “The men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department work diligently to honor our core values of integrity, fairness and service. When our actions come into question, it is my responsibility as your Chief to ensure an objective and thorough investigation is completed…”
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski released a public statement on Tuesday evening, stating in part, “We rightly hold our police officers to the highest standards. We expect them to treat everyone with dignity and respect and act in accordance with departmental policies and values. When they do not, they must be held accountable. I expect that once an investigation of this incident is complete, appropriate action will be taken.”
The Baltimore County Police Department released the footage and 911 call to the public within three weeks of the incident. However, the department has yet to release police body-cam footage and the 911 call for the police-involved shooting of Eric John Sopp, a Hereford Zone man who died after being shot by an officer on Nov. 26.
The Gunpowder Gazette requested the digital records in November, but was told they could not be released until the completion of an investigation by the state’s attorney.