The family of Greg Baer, Bank of America executive, is located in a jurisdiction protected by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), which responded promptly to a disturbance call from his neighborhood last weekend. According to Corporal Dan Friz, an MCPD spokesperson in Rockville, Maryland, the department received a disturbance call from one of Baer’s neighbors at 4:10 pm last Sunday. Four MCPD units arrived at Baer’s Greenville Rd. address at 4:15 pm. At least two Metropolitan Police Department units from the nearby District of Columbia were already at the scene when they arrived.
Why? Because police cars attached to the Washington MPD’s Civil Disturbance Unit had escorted the SEIU protesters’ buses to Baer’s home. Such cross-jurisdictional escort activity is not uncommon for both departments according to Friz and Metro Police Department spokesperson Officer Eric Frost. Still, the District police did not inform their colleagues of what was about to happen in one of their Maryland neighborhoods. The Maryland officers reported there were approximately 500 protesters on and near the front lawn of Baer’s house. Montgomery County was not given a “heads-up” concerning the planned protest. Although a protest permit is technically required in Montgomery County, in practice no citation is issued if the protestors disperse when requested to do so by the owner of the private property they occupy.
The primary role of the Washington cops in this event was to protect the protesters. The D.C. officers had no authority to act to disperse the protesters even had the homeowner been present and asked them to vacate the private property. The event ended as a “dash one”– no arrests, no citations – according to Friz. The Montgomery County units left the scene at 5:29 pm.
According to Friz, “members of protest groups know how far to push the envelope” and wait for “the key words” – for example, the property owner’s request that they leave – in order to avoid arrests or citations. For example, protesters are required to keep on the move, since a standing protest violates a Montgomery County code. And, while photographs clearly suggest that many of the SEIU protesters were stationary, the District police don’t have any authority to enforce Montgomery County laws.
So, let’s sum this up: A caravan of SEIU buses receive a Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department escort to a private home in Maryland where the protesters, from all appearances, violate Montgomery County law by engaging in a stationary protest. The Montgomery County police were not informed by their cross-jurisdictional colleagues of the impending, unusually large protest pending in their jurisdiction.
What’s up with that? Had the mob decided to torch the house, the D.C. police would not have been authorized to intervene. Not their jurisdiction. They’re just escorts. Meanwhile, a teenage boy is home alone, frightened by what’s happening outside his front door. There’s something very wrong with this picture. SOURCE: Big Journalism