A.F. James MacArthur in his online radio studio, from which he held an hours-long ‘debate’ early Saturday night with BPD negotiator Jason Yerg.

UPDATE (Wed. Dec. 5th @ 12:55 PM):  NO BAIL!

Citing allegedly threatening messages tweeted online by citizen-journalist/blogger A.F. James MacArthur, a Baltimore court declined to set bond for the local community watchdog at a bail review hearing Wednesday morning.

During and prior to a five-hour confrontation with city police Saturday night, which resulted in MacArthur’s arrest at about 11 p.m., he repeatedly posted messages on his Twitter feed that were considered threatening enough that the police saw fit to deploy tactical personnel — including a heavily armed SWAT team — to his Waverly home.

Authorities utilized MacArthur’s tweets to help gain a search warrant, possibly a groundbreaking example of police use of social media in crimefighting.

Prior to the Wednesday a.m. bail hearing, MacArthur charged that police “planted” a sawed-off shotgun they allegedly found in an upstairs bedroom of his house after arresting him Saturday night.

In denying bail, the judge termed the gadfly blogger a “threat to public safety.”
VoB’s original story follows below:
By Alan Z. Forman
A contingent of 50-100 heavily armed Baltimore City police officers — including SWAT and tactical team members — surrounded the Waverly home of gadfly journalist A.F. James MacArthur Saturday night and arrested the 37-year-old blogger on a warrant alleging he violated probation on a gun charge nearly four years old.

Following an hours-long telephone conversation between MacArthur and Baltimore Police Department negotiator Jason Yerg, MacArthur surrendered peacefully about 11 p.m., ending a five-hour standoff which featured a simulcast ‘debate’ between him and Lt. Yerg on the activities and alleged indiscretions of the city police.

MacArthur broadcast the debate between him and the police negotiator in real time on his website, BaltimoreSpectator.blogspot.com, during which he repeatedly questioned the decision making of a police department that would send so many heavily armed officers to surround the home of a man with no record of violence, charged only with having come outside his house four years ago carrying a shotgun to try to break up a neighborhood fight, plus a weapons conviction dating back to 2002, which restricts him from owning firearms.

He received probation before judgment on the 2009 gun-possession charge.

At the end of his probationary period in June, MacArthur’s probation agent instigated the issuance of a warrant for his arrest because he failed to appear in court at a hearing which MacArthur says he was never notified about.

A cab driver by trade, MacArthur has long been a thorn in the side of city police because of his appearance at numerous crime scenes in recent years, reporting recently for his blog and previously for the now defunct Investigative Voice — the current Voice of Baltimore — news websites.  (Check out his thumbnail bio on VoB by clicking here.)

During the telephone debate MacArthur repeatedly questioned Yerg about the efficacy of a police department that would expend so many resources on a nonviolent person, especially on a Saturday night when violent crime typically runs rampant throughout the city.

When Yerg said the officers would relocate to other crime scenes once MacArthur gave himself up, MacArthur expressed disbelief, asserting that he expected the cops to hang around long enough to knee him in the back — or even shoot and kill him — upon his surrender, then noted:

“You surrounded my house based on messages I posted on Twitter.” (The prolific social media user had tweeted numerous messages the police considered threatening.)

“You’ve cordoned off the neighborhood so there are no witnesses other than police. What’s to keep you from killing me and claiming I resisted arrest?”

At last report MacArthur was being held without bail at Central Booking. A search of his home, in the 600 block of McKewin Avenue, following his arrest turned up a sawed-off shotgun — a violation of his probation which requires that he not own firearms — and what police termed a “quantity” of ammunition, also a violation of his probation on the gun charge.

UPDATE (Tues. Dec. 4th @ 7:45 PM):  On Tuesday, new gun charges were filed against MacArthur, based on the search of his home Saturday night that allegedly yielded an unregistered sawed-off shotgun that his 2002 gun conviction disqualifies him from legally owning.

A bail hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday. MacArthur is represented by Baltimore attorney Jill P. Carter, a Democrat who serves in Maryland’s House of Delegates representing the state’s 41st legislative district.
Check out James MacArthur’s website at BaltimoreSpectator.blogspot.com (click here)

3 Responses to “SWAT SWATS BLOGGER — Baltimore City police arrest website journalist following five-hour standoff”

  1. » Blog Archive » LOCKED AWAY — Controversial blogger denied visitors and bail, enters third week in Central Booking »

    […] OUT VoB’S PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF JAMES MacARTHUR’S SATURDAY NIGHT STANDOFF WITH POLICE  (click here)   Filed under: Top Stories Comment […]

  2. » Blog Archive » POLITICAL PRISONER? — Supporters of gadfly journalist demonstrate outside Central Booking »

    […] If convicted on the two new gun violations he is currently charged with, he could face as much as 10 years behind bars.   alforman@voiceofbaltimore.org   CHECK OUT VOICE OF BALTIMORE’S RECENT STORIES ON A.F. JAMES MacARTHUR’S STANDOFF WITH POLICE AND SUBSEQUENT ARREST (click here) and (here) […]

  3. » Blog Archive » BLOGGER UNBAILED — Gadfly journalist denied bond for 2nd time »


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