“What Happened To Me Shouldn’t Have Happened To A Dog,” Man Sues Baltimore County Over Walmart Parking Lot Incident


Credit: Mike Hellgren/ Twitter

BALTIMORE COUNTY - A man has filed suit against Baltimore County, a private security company, and Walmart over a confrontation in the Arbutus Walmart parking lot in 2020.

Surveillance video from a Walmart security camera shows 38-year-old Andre Holness being followed by a contracted security officer in a full police uniform.

The video does not have audio, but the officer appears to push Holness, who turns around to see what is happening. Holness turns away from the officer and, moments later, is tackled to the ground and held for several minutes.

The complaint, filed on March 16, says that Holness suffered scrapes, cuts, and emotional distress due to the incident. The complaint also alleges that Holness was sprayed with mace during the encounter.

The officer in the video has been identified as Christopher Sell Jr. He remains employed by the Baltimore County Police Department, a spokesperson said on Monday. Sell was not wearing a body camera at the time of the incident.

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“What happened to me shouldn’t have happened to a dog,” Holness said at a press conference outside Baltimore County Circuit Court on Monday.

Holness was charged with second-degree assault, trespassing, and resisting arrest after the incident. All charges were dismissed by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office in July 2021.

According to the complaint, Holness was attempting to purchase a money order at Walmart before getting into an argument with a worker. Sell was working as a security officer in the Baltimore County Police Department’s secondary employment program and asked Holness to leave the store.

Holness left the store voluntarily and was pursued by Sell for over 100 yards before the incident occurred, according to Holness’s attorney, Malcolm Ruff.

The complaint officially names Baltimore County, Walmart, and the contracted security company, Signal 88 LLC, as defendants.

Walmart spokesperson Marci Burks said, “We take allegations like this seriously, and we are looking into the situation,” in a statement on Monday.

Baltimore County and the Baltimore County Police Department have declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Ruff and Holness have yet to specify the amount they are asking for in their lawsuit. 

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