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Concerned Baltimore citizen pays $15,000 bail for complete stranger

BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF/WKRC) -- A concerned Baltimore resident spent $15,000 to bail a complete stranger out of jail on Thursday.

Jennifer Bartley witnessed the arrest of Calvin Wilkes, 25, and two others at the Inner Harbor in April and says the scene, "was one of the worst things I've ever seen."

The three were arrested near the Light Street pavilion after security guards called police April 19th. Police allege Wilkes was part of a group causing a disturbance inside the Pavilion and refusing to leave.

The arrest caught the attention of bystanders, including Bartley, who says she was stunned by the police tactics that caused one of the suspects to bleed from the mouth -- a use of force that has prompted an internal affairs investigation.

Police charged Wilkes and two others with trespassing and resisting arrest. But in addition to criminal charges a judge had imposed a strict "cash only" bail condition on Wilkes. The so-called "cash only" restriction bars suspects from using a bond or personal property to make bail.

Friends and colleagues told WBFF-TV they were concerned the little known bail provision would hinder the progress of a man they describe as a tireless advocate for homeless youth.

"Here's a kid who's trying and succeeding, and now we're worried he'll lose his job," said Nyasha Dixon, a colleague who works with Wilkes advocating for homeless teens.

Last Wednesday Wilkes was supposed to lead a discussion at University of Maryland's Carey School of Law on the challenges faced by young people living on the margins in violent and impoverished neighborhoods. Wilkes also volunteers at the 'Yes Drop In' center that caters to homeless youth and holds down a job at McDonalds while taking classes at the Community College of Baltimore City.

Bartley caught part of the police confrontation on camera and says she felt that the officers were using excessive force on a homeless man trying to start a new life.

"I just feel like its one more way the police are crossing their boundaries," Bartley said. "If they think people can't come up with $15,000 cash bail to release him from jail they are wrong. People like me are going to be outraged."

Wilkes was tased during the scuffle and taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. Police say the entire incident could have been avoided had the three heeded the warning from Harborplace Security Guards.


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