Video obtained by City Paper shows two security guards at the Northeast Market roughly handling a woman and one of the guards grabbing at her neck. It happened a little before 11 a.m. today.
"I was over at the Eastern market getting some food and private security officers choke the shit out of this elderly black lady after already completely overpowering her," the man who shot the video, who asked to remain anonymous, told City Paper.
After the incident, the man asked one of the security guards multiple times, "Why'd you grab her by the neck?," to which one of the guards answered, "You with her?" When he told the guard "no," the security guard responded over and over, "Have a nice day."
Later on, in front of the market he asked for information about the guards and one of the guards threatened "I'll lock you up," and told him to "go to City Hall."
"She's a mental case," Louis Holley, Captain of Lexington and the Baltimore Public Markets Security Team, told City Paper over the phone. "She walked in and started eating from the salad bar with her bare hands."
City Paper then asked Holley to repeat himself to make sure he indeed called her a "mental case"—and he doubled down. Holley is a retired Baltimore City cop who has been with the public markets security for about two years, Stacey L. Pack, Marketing and Communications Manager for Lexington Market and Baltimore Public Markets, told City Paper.
According to a preliminary statement given by one of the officers involved in the incident, the officer told the woman to stop eating from the salad bar, said Pack. When she didn't, the officer put his hand on hers, told her to stop and said she would have to leave the market. The officer said the woman then took a swing at him.
Pack also provided this statement: "Baltimore Public Markets is currently in the process of reviewing all video footage and reports from the incident that occurred at North East Market earlier today, at this point we do not have all the information. Baltimore Public Markets security team includes 5 individuals who are commissioned by the State of Maryland and have the authority to detain and place individuals under arrest in situations when there is a threat to others within the Market. In addition, many members of our security team have been trained in LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion), a pilot program that launched earlier this year around Lexington Market and the Central District through the Behavioral Health System of Baltimore on how to defuse situations as well as referring individuals to the help they need. Though this program is not currently in place in other areas of the city, Baltimore Public Markets Security Team and Staff are working towards additional training for the entire team to make sure we are handling all situations that may come up in the most appropriate and professional manner that make Public Markets inviting to all customers and guests who we serve throughout the city."
Additional reporting contributed by J.M. Giordano and Brandon Weigel