A 25 million dollar lawsuit against a Cleveland-based security company has been field by residents of the Cherry Hill community with claims of harassment, abuse of authority and intimidation practices.
But these men who have overstepped their limit are actually security guards with little official police authority.
In fact, Billy Murphy Jr., the residents’ attorney, had this to say “They act like cowboy-wannabe cops.” “We’re tired of it, and we’re going to put them in their place.”
These security guards are employed by Tenable Protective Services appointed as special police officers, granted limited police authority within certain areas.
Such applications are approved by the state and Baltimore City Police Deptment, These special police officers protol areas like shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc. But are no more then security officers with little official power to carry out some of the acts they are now accused of.
Cherry Hill residents claim in their lawsuit that “the security officers act as rogue Baltimore city police officers, conducting investigations and making arrests sometimes alongside sworn city officers“.
It is a known fact that a neighborhood activist and pastor, said she was threatened by the security officers after complaining and said her tires were slashed.
Each of the 21 plaintiffs makes allegations against security officers.
One plaintiff, 20-year-old Chris Dukes, claims in the lawsuit that on Aug. 1, 2011 he was followed by two security officers to a gas station, where they jumped out of their vehicles, pointed Tasers at him and his passenger, and demanded they get out of their vehicle. He drove away and was pulled over on Interstate 295, where he was arrested and charged with assault.
“It has the community in an uproar. You’ve got a lot more plaintiffs who won’t step forward because they’re scared of them,” said Warren William Sr., 47 Also a plaintiff working with the Cherry Hill Safe Streets anti-violence program. “For the longest time, the community thought they were police officers, or off-duty police officers.”
Anthony Guglielmi spokes person for The Baltimore City Police basically said security companies should oversee their employees who are appointed as special police officers. Until the law suit is completely reviewed Guglpelmi has no further comment.