White Montgomery County police officer shown on video using n-word
By Jennifer Barrios and Dan Morse
The Washington Post|
May 10, 2019 | 1:55 PM
Montgomery County police are investigating one of it's officers using the n-word during a stop. It was caught on body-camera footage and now appears on social media.
Montgomery County police on Thursday released body-camera footage from a white officer who appeared on an earlier social media video using the n-word during an encounter with a group of young men being questioned in Silver Spring, saying the incident was “disturbing” and remains under investigation.
During the roughly 12-minute body-cam video, which begins with the unidentified officer driving to the scene — a McDonald’s parking lot in the White Oak section of Silver Spring around 10:30 a.m. Thursday — the officer can be heard laughing and attempting to make light banter with the group of young African American men, who were lined up along the outside of the restaurant.
Toward the end of the video, the officer says, “Y’all n-----s been tryin’ to something.” Someone on the video can be heard calling her a “racist,” and the officer indicates she was repeating something a person in the group had told her.
“Nope, that’s a quote, those were your words,” she said.
Police issued a statement late Thursday saying, “We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video,” and added that what was said goes against the department’s “extensive training curriculum,” which includes measures against implicit bias.
The House of Delegates publicly censured Harford County Del. Mary Ann Lisanti for her use of a racial slur, which members said “brought dishonor to the entire General Assembly of Maryland.” After the vote, the Democrat said she would not resign,
Montgomery County police are investigating “all the facts and circumstances of this encounter,” said Officer Rick Goodale, a police spokesman.
The incident began as officers were investigating a possible trespassing at the McDonald’s, Goodale said. Police are trying to determine whether citations or charges were issued and the ages of those stopped, and whether any are juveniles. The exchange on the video occurred between officers and four people, police said in the release of the body-cam video.
The department also said it was reaching out to the “persons involved in the incident.”
Acting police chief Russ Hamill, in an email to department employees late Thursday, expressed deep concern and said “the language was inappropriate by any measure.” He said “such language, whether one is mimicking another person’s language, or using it on their own, simply has no place here.”
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, a Democrat, issued a statement Thursday saying that he had reviewed the video and that the incident “violates the standards which we expect our officers to uphold.”
“There are no circumstances that justify what the officer said,” Elrich said in the statement. “Every time something like this happens it hurts the reputation of all officers; and it works against efforts to build trust in the community.” He said he had spoken to Hamill, adding that Hamill “recognizes the seriousness of this.”
Council member Craig Rice, a District 2 Democrat, said that after he learned of the video he called Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Marcus Jones, who he said described the video.
“I think there’s a larger issue . . . who and why and how we’re stopping and detaining individuals,” he said. “When you do that, it can lead to disproportionate arrests and use of force, which is not a good thing. It doesn’t build trust in the community.”