On Tuesday, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare surprised almost everyone when he announced that he will be retiring on August 1, having served two decades in the force.
The announcement comes days after a use-of-force lawsuit was filed by Daniel Jarrells against three officers in the department. Footage of a February 2019 traffic stop in Gambrills, Maryland, showed a white officer kneeling on Jarrell’s neck.
Jarrells’ lawsuit states that he suffered minor injuries due to excessive force used by the officers during his arrest. The charges against Jarrells were dropped by the prosecutors since he was arrested improperly.
Jarrells' lawsuit is seeking damages for "assault, battery, mental and emotional distress and deprivation of constitutional rights."
In a July 21 news conference, County Executive Steuart Pittman stated that the video did not show "the kind of policing we train."
“This hurts," Pittman said about the lawsuit, "It will hurt our community; I know it’s hurting people in our community right now.”
In an opinion piece written to the Capital Gazette, Altomare stated that his retirement had "nothing to do" with the 2019 case. He added that he could no longer support "a future in which cops' rights are stripped away and your officers are treated like the criminals."
"I am not leaving because I want to," he wrote. "I am leaving because I will not be a part of a movement that endangers you or the people we are sworn to protect."
He denounced the calls to defund the police, but stated that he supports the efforts of the activists. He maintained that he stands with protestors, but that the movement to reduce policing efforts will have damaging consequences to the country.
"There is a movement in this nation and in this county to remove the teeth of the police," the letter read. "It is wrong and it will have grave and lasting effects that you will see and feel. Violent crime is already ramping up across the country and here, in our county. I have been told I should be ashamed of considering us sheepdogs, that it is somehow biased against certain groups. That is false!"
Anne Arundel County will release further guidelines regarding their proposed policing policy changes during the week, including the use of chokeholds and neck restraints.
Sources: America Now