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Street Vendor Arrested On Narcotics Charges After ‘Lady In The Lake’ Production Was Shut Down, But Questions Remain

A crew member of the Apple TV limited series "Lady in the Lake" told Baltimore Police last week that he had been verbally threatened with violence from a man brandishing a gun, shutting down production temporarily, but police now say there’s “some discrepancies” in the account.

By Jill Sederstrom
Natalie Portman attends the "Thor: Love and Thunder" photocall

Baltimore Police are still trying to piece together the circumstances around an incident that temporarily shut down production of the television series “Lady in the Lake” last week after “some discrepancies” have surfaced.

Baltimore Police announced the arrest Tuesday of 43-year-old street vendor Keith L. Brown, who is facing an unrelated narcotics charges, but investigators are still trying to determine whether anyone threatened violence or demanded money from producers on the set.

“Those are all questions that we’re still asking as part of our investigation,” police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge told Oxygen.com.

The production was shut down Friday after police received a report around 4 p.m. that a crew member on the Endeavor Content production of “Lady in the Lake” had “received a verbal threat of violence" from someone brandishing a firearm.

The production’s location manager initially told police that individuals had demanded he pay $50,000 to be able to film at the location and had pulled a gun on one of the series' crew members, according to a police report obtained by Oxygen.com.

Although the man initially reported seeing the gun himself, he retracted his statement when police asked what the firearm looked like and said that it had actually been a “driver” connected with the filming who had seen the weapon.

Both witnesses provided different accounts of the timing of the alleged incident, police say.

A female supervisor for the security company hired for the production also told police that a group of people wanted $4,000 for the film crew to be able to film in the area and then charged the amount to $50,000, saying they had threatened to shoot in the air if they didn’t get what they wanted, according to the report.

But the woman told police no money had been exchanged and she didn’t know who had made the threats. Another member of the film crew told police that a group of people were being disruptive, but made no criminal allegations against the group.

“This is an open and ongoing investigation,” Eldridge said. “There are some discrepancies about whether or not a gun was seen. We still have individuals that we are waiting to interview at this time and I think will probably help give us a better, clearer understanding of what occurred that interview just hasn’t happened as of yet.”

Police said the production was shut down “out of an abundance of caution.”

During the investigation, detectives learned that a local street vendor, later identified as Brown, had been upset that he had not been compensated by the production for lost business since he could not operate his clothing business while the crew was filming at that location.

Brown allegedly admitted to detectives that he had talked with a crew member and security manager and said he was awaiting paperwork to receive compensation for lost business on Friday.

Eldridge told Oxygen.com that Brown’s perspective was that as a street vendor he had learned that other businesses in the area were being compensated for lost wages and he wanted to be compensated too.

Brown told investigators that had been his frame of mind while talking to crew members, but investigators are still trying to determine whether the conversations escalated to threats or suggestions of violence, she said.

Brown was taken into custody Monday in reference to a separate narcotics charges and is not currently facing any charges connected to the “Lady in the Lake” incident.  

“These narcotics charges are coming from an observation that officers made on Monday in reference to some drug sales,” Eldridge said.

While investigators continue to look into the alleged threat, David M. O’Ferrall, business agent for the IATSE Local 487 union, confirmed to Oxygen.com that production resumed Monday for the limited crime series, starring Natalie Portman.

“The production has, as they said increased security, and is moving forward,” O’Ferrall said in an email.

O’Ferrall, whose union represents crew members working in special effects, set construction, costumers and other crafts, declined to provide any additional details but stressed that safety was paramount to the union.

“The safety and well-being of our crew, as well as the entire production, are always paramount. We are working with production to see that every set, every shot, every day is safe,” he said. “Baltimore has great crews and great locations and we work hard to see that every production has the best possible experience while working here.”

“Lady in the Lake” is based on Lippman’s best-selling book which tells the story of a Baltimore housewife who takes on the role of investigative journalist in an attempt to piece together an unsolved murder, which “sets her on a collision course” with a passionate woman committed to advancing Baltimore’s Black progressive agenda in the 1960s, according to an April press release.

Lippman, a journalist-turned-best-selling author, has written over 20 mysteries. She spoke with Oxygen.com last year as part of Oxygen’s Book Club to discuss her novel “Dream Girl.”

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