OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — An African-American school principal says he was degraded by a white Baltimore County police officer while he and his son watched an arrest.

The Baltimore Sun reports police are investigating the claim made by Patterson High School Principal Vance Benton.

Benton says he and his 15-year-old son were observing an arrest last month when the officer began "baiting" him, making belittling comments, such as asking Benton if he could read and insinuating that Benton's son would be arrested someday. His letter to county officials says he'd never experienced such "degradation, disrespect and humiliation." He wrote that innocent lives are in jeopardy from this kind of racial bias.

Police Chief Melissa Hyatt says they're taking the complaint seriously. The department denied the paper's request for the officer's body camera recording.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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