SILVER SPRING, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A week after a Montgomery County police officer was recorded using a racial slur, members of the county council have signed off on a letter to the acting chief asking for more details – and all of the body camera footage.
At-Large Councilmember Will Jawando says he wants a more complete picture of the incident.
“After viewing the full 12-minute video, and then after speaking with two of the four young men who were detained, it became clear to me there are a lot of issues going on here outside of the use of the racist and derogatory word, the N word – the tone of the officers is demeaning. There is also the question of why were the young men stopped in the first place. I became aware that the county police have agreements with some private businesses to enforce trespassing orders as their agents to act as agents of the business,” Jawando said.
Jawando and the other council members want to know more about businesses in the county that may have agreements in place with the police, and how many trespassing citations have been handed out in the last year.
Jawando says he also wants to hear the recordings from all the officers’ cameras so that he can understand how the incident first began. The councilmember was particularly disturbed by the female officer’s tone of voice, and he wants to hear the other officers’ tones.
On Thursday, the Montgomery County Police released the following statement in regards to the council's letter:
"We understand and appreciate the concerns regarding the recent incident in White Oak expressed by members of the County Council in their May 14th letter to the Department.
The Department values openness and transparency in its interactions with the public, and this event is no exception. From the moment we became aware of this concerning incident, the Department immediately initiated an Internal Affairs investigation into the event and all employees involved on the same day it occurred. We understand the importance of this matter and how it impacts our credibility and relationships with the community. We also understand the pain and deep concern this incident has caused to so many people.
The Department has been gathering further information and data as well as evaluating training and policies as the investigation and review of the incident proceeds.
The requests for information by members of the Council and others, while not routine, will be handled consistent with laws and policies applicable to the release of information.
There have also been questions and comments regarding the status of the investigation of the officers involved. In accordance with Maryland law, including the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, as well as our local collective bargaining agreement, the Department is conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation of the incident.
We will release more information as it is developed and confirmed."