Maryland State Police are investigating allegations that troopers teased, laughed at and live-streamed a man whose boat fell off its trailer onto Route 50 in Cambridge last month , the agency said.
The man, Christopher Bailey, who had spent the winter fixing up the boat to pursue his dream of working as a commercial crabber, was deeply humiliated and killed himself last week, his mother wrote on Facebook. She wrote that she was seeking a meeting with state police officials about the May 18 incident.
“[The troopers] surrounded him and pulled out their cellphones taking videos and laughing at him posting on Facebook live the redneck kid trying to lift a boat,” Jane Bailey wrote. “I want them to hear the whole story of how my son hung himself Sunday morning — because of his perceived humiliation.”
Lt. Timothy Corbin, commander of the State Police Easton Barrack, is leading the investigation and attempting to contact the family, police wrote in a statement on Facebook. Jane Bailey could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Three troopers were dispatched to the scene of the incident, two of whom directed traffic around the blocked lanes and had no contact with Christopher Bailey, police said. The other officer did take pictures of the detached boat in the road “in the event a crash report needed to be filed,” police wrote.
“There is no evidence at this time that troopers posted these pictures or any videos to social media,” police wrote. “An independent witness has indicated all troopers on the scene were professional and no one was making fun of or laughing at Mr. Bailey.”
Troopers and others on the scene tried unsuccessfully to help him move the 26-foot boat, which was full of water, and get a tow strap under it, police wrote. A tow service was already on its way when troopers arrived, police wrote.
“The members of the Maryland State Police are committed to serving and protecting the citizens of our state,” the agency wrote on Facebook. “Accusations of conduct contrary to our core values, policies and tradition, are troubling and will be thoroughly investigated.”
Jane Bailey also faulted the tow service, Roy Bradshaw’s Body Shop, for posting a photo of the boat on the road to the company’s Facebook page and charging her son $1,500 to put the vessel back on the trailer.
In addition to the meeting with state police, Jane Bailey wrote, she wants the $1,500 back from the towing company to pay for his funeral.
“What they did was no different then the contractors who rush to screw victims of hurricanes,” she wrote.
In a Facebook post in response, the towing company sent condolences to Bailey’s family and friends. But the company’s owner, Roy Bradshaw, denied that he had overcharged the waterman. The $1,500, he wrote, was half the normal price for a rotating wrecker to perform a two-hour boat recovery.
“We charged a rate one-half of normal charges in an effort to be fair to the young man,” he wrote. “We did this out of compassion with knowledge he would be forced to pay out of pocket. He at no times made any complaint as to service or price. Indeed, when I attempted to further explain the breakdown of charges, he said he was happy with everything.”
Christopher Bailey had worked three jobs to buy his pickup truck and could not afford insurance, his mother wrote in her Facebook post.
After the accident, the boat motor could not be salvaged, a skiff he used at the dock broke, and his crab customers canceled their Memorial Day orders because he couldn’t produce them for Friday and Saturday, she wrote.
“There is more, more little things,” Jane Bailey wrote, “all bumps in the road, but to this young man it was a mountain.”
For those struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a trained crisis counselor any time by messaging 741-741.