Maryland Authorities Investigate Officer Who Used Racial Slur During Questioning

A Maryland police department has launched an investigation into an incident involving a white officer who used the n-word while questioning a group of young men in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Montgomery County Police Department released bodycam footage from the incident, calling it “disturbing and contrary to our department’s values.” The police department said in a statement that it takes all allegations of racial discrimination “seriously.”

The incident occurred at a McDonald's in Silver Spring in the morning of May 9 as officers investigated trespassers at the restaurant. The nearly 13-minute video shows an unidentified female officer arriving at the McDonald's parking lot as three officers questioned and searched a group of four young Black men. The officer attempts to make light conversation with the men and tells them that if they stop “running your mouth” they will be let go sooner. Toward the end of the video, the officer can be heard saying, “Y’all [n-word] been tryin’ to something.” Someone calls the female officer a “racist a— b—,” but she quickly replies that she is merely quoting what someone in the group had said to her. “Nope, that’s a quote, those were your words,” she said.

“The statements observed on the social media video clip are contrary to our extensive training curriculum that include implicit bias training and other training programs to ensure fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory policing in our community,” Montgomery County Police said in the statement. “We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video. We understand the pain such language causes the entire community.”

Police said that the incident was under investigation and “appropriate actions” would be taken. Spokesman Captain C. Thomas Jordan told The North Star that there were no developments since the statement was released. “We continue to investigate,” Jordan wrote. In an email to the department, acting Police Chief Russ Hamill said that “such language, whether one is mimicking another person’s language, or using it on their own, simply has no place here,” The Washington Post reported.

Jordan told CNN that the four men were given civil citations for trespassing. Officers discovered less than 10 grams of marijuana on two of the men and issued civil citations for it. No one was arrested. The police spokesman also addressed concerns about the sexual comments made during the incident. “There were a lot of troubling statements that were inappropriate and not indicative of the rest of our police force,” Jordan told CNN.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich told The Washington Post that he had seen the footage and found that the incident “violates the standards which we expect our officers to uphold.” Elrich said there was nothing that could justify the officer’s remarks.

“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.

Jordan did not comment on the status of the officers involved but confirmed to CNN that they continued to be on the payroll of the Montgomery County Police Department.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.