GREENSBORO, Md. — In the video, Jennell Black steps out the door of her home to see her 19-year-old son pinned by multiple police officers.
“Anton!” she screams, as she watches what would be a fatal encounter between her son and law enforcement unfold.
More than four months after Anton Black, an African American teenager, died in police custody on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, officials in Caroline County continued Wednesday to deny his family’s pleas to release body-camera footage of the encounter to the public. But members of the media were shown a copy of the tapes Wednesday morning, providing the most complete look to date of the Sept. 15 incident that has thrown this tiny town into the national conversation about police treatment of young African American men.
Black died Sept. 15 after being stopped by a member of the Greensboro Police Department. There has been no medical examiner’s report, no cause of death announced, no toxicology results. Repeated calls for the footage to be publicly released were denied Wednesday by Caroline County State’s Attorney Joe Riley, who cited an open investigation and instructed the police department not to show the footage publicly as the department had said it had intended to do.
The Sept. 15 encounter began after a Greensboro officer responded to a report that was called in of Black dragging a 12-year-old boy down a street. Maryland State Police, who took over the investigation almost immediately, said the local officer got out of his vehicle and told Black to release the boy, which he did, and to place his hands behind his back for arrest.
As shown and heard on the video shared with members of the media:
Black instead flees on foot along Route 33. A Greensboro officer says the teenager is suffering from a mental-health disorder — a claim his family has vehemently denied.
The officer and two members of nearby police departments, who happened to be near the scene, chase Black to his parents’ home, along with a civilian who joined them. Black enters a family member’s parked car.
There, the footage shows, a Greensboro officer shatters the car window with his baton and shocks Black with a Taser. Black then climbs out of the other side of the car.
Officers force him to the ground, overpowering him in an attempt to put him in handcuffs and ankle restraints. The civilian who joined in the chase is also shown restraining Black. Black’s mother yells, “Anton, stop, baby.” Her son tells her that he loves her.
Black shows signs of medical distress, looking limp and unresponsive. His mother is heard asking: “Is he breathing?”
Officers call for an ambulance and begin performing CPR, the video shows. They say this is a mental-health emergency but do not immediately remove his ankle shackles.
The Greensboro police officer calls his chief: “We get him into custody and he goes out,” he says. “. . . It turned into a real show.”
Black was taken to Easton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Although state police initially said Black was accused of attempting to abduct the boy, it was revealed that two knew each other well, and were related.
Two days ago, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) told reporters he’d taken a personal interest in the case and reiterated Wednesday that everything the family wants to be revealed to the public should be shared.
“I’m very frustrated that we haven’t gotten answers yet,” Hogan said. “I’ve been pushing both the state police and the medical examiner to finish their investigation as quickly as they possibly can.”
Black’s sister LaToya Holley, 37, said Black was never diagnosed with a mental illness and was not wearing a medical bracelet, as police had said.
His family also wonders why, if police treated this case as a mental-health emergency, the boy was not allowed to talk with his mother.
“They knew someone was home,” said Jennell Black, Anton’s mother. “They could’ve knocked on the door.”
Luke Broadwater contributed to this report.