Howard Co. officials opt not to release footage of fatal shooting of unarmed man

WASHINGTON — The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office, investigating the shooting death of an unarmed man by a Montgomery County police officer, has declined to publicly release body-worn camera video of the June 11 shooting.

“We requested that the video not be released at this time,” said Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Howard County Deputy State’s Attorney Mary Murphy met with Montgomery County police investigators on Monday to discuss the incident in which Robert White, 41, of Silver Spring was shot to death by officer Anand Badgujar, 32, after police say White became combative and assaulted the officer.

The Montgomery County Police Department said the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office concluded that a public release of the bodycam video could hurt the investigation and potential judicial proceedings.

Police said the decision will be reviewed in the future.

To ensure an independent inquiry, Howard and Montgomery Counties have an agreement binding them to investigate each other’s police shootings.

Montgomery County Police have been turning over evidence to the Howard County State’s attorney’s office including video from Badgujar’s body-worn camera and video from another responding officer.

Officer Bagdujar has declined to give a statement to police or answer questions in the criminal investigation into the shooting. Bagdujar is a two-year member of the Montgomery County Police Department.

Montgomery County activist groups demanding answers about the police shooting are disappointed in the decision not to publicly release the bodycam video.

“The public has a right to see those videos to understand what happened,” said Laurel Hoa, of Kensington, who is among the signers of a letter to Montgomery County leaders expressing concern about the shooting death of White.

“I think it certainly could be released and not interfere with their investigation,” she said.

White was shot to death walking not far from his Silver Spring home, in a two-minute encounter with the officer. Police say White assaulted the officer after Bagdujar asked him to stop in order to answer questions. Police have not said what first alerted Officer Bagdujar to White.

One week after the shooting, Montgomery County Police highlighted the department’s mandatory police training in dealing with individuals experiencing mental health issues including techniques in de-escalation.

The training became mandatory last year, after Bagdujar had joined the Montgomery County Police Department, following several years as a member of the Baltimore City Police Department.

Hoa said Police Chief Tom Manger has agreed to meet with representatives of community groups on Wednesday, June 27 to discuss their concerns. He will answer questions about police tactics and training in de-escalation conflict involving people of color and individuals with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

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