SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — A Maryland police officer has been cleared by investigators after he fatally shot a man who reportedly attacked him, officials said Monday.
Montgomery County Police announced that prosecutors in neighboring Howard County determined that Officer Anand Badgujar's actions during the June 11 encounter with Robert White were justified. Police have said body-worn camera footage shows White assaulting Badgujar twice in a townhouse community's parking lot.
"After reviewing all of the pertinent evidence and after a thorough review of the law, by myself and the members of our Senior Staff, we have, unanimously, concluded that Officer Badgujar's actions were justified under the circumstances," Howard County State's Attorney Dario Broccolino said in a July 27 letter to Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. Broccolino notes that investigators reviewed video and other evidence and Badgujar responded to questions prosecutors posed to him through his attorney.
Manger said in June that White, a 41-year-old black man, was unarmed, but he assaulted Badgujar after the officer "attempted to speak" with him. Badgujar ended up in the area of the Silver Spring townhouse community on an unrelated call, but it wasn't initially clear why he focused on White.
With the situation quickly escalating, the officer tried to pepper spray White, police said, and then requested assistance after the man moved away.
When Badgujar returned to his cruiser to switch off the ignition, White "began approaching" him, according to police. They assert White started "running at the officer," forcing Badgujar to back-pedal away. They say White "knocked him down as the officer discharged his weapon."
"White fell, got up, stood over the officer who was still on the ground, and continued to assault the officer, at which time the officer fired additional rounds," the statement reads.
Officials expect to release body-worn camera footage from Badgujar and a backup officer later this week. Badgujar, a patrolman who has been with department in the Washington suburbs about two years, has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Montgomery County Police say Assistant Chief Marcus Jones and Major Crimes Capt. Michael Wahl are meeting with White's relatives Monday in North Carolina.