Montgomery Co. police review finds 2018 shooting, killing of unarmed man justified

Editor’s note: The body-camera footage contains graphic footage of the shooting, as well as adult language. The following video edits out part of what Montgomery County police provided:

An administrative review by the Montgomery County police found that Officer Anand Badgujar was “in grave danger” when he shot and killed 41-year-old Robert Lawrence White in a Silver Spring, Maryland, parking lot, on June 11, 2018, and that the shooting “was lawful and justified.”

The departmental review, which was dated March 26 and turned over to County Executive Marc Elrich, came to the same conclusion as Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino, whose agency reviewed the officer-involved shooting. Then-Police Chief Tom Manger signed off on the review five days before retiring; he’s been replaced by interim chief Russell Hamill.

With Broccolino’s July 2018 review determining the officer would not face criminal charges, “The purpose of the administrative investigation was to determine if Officer Badgujar’s actions during his encounter with Mr. White were in accordance with Montgomery County Police Department Rules and Policy.”

The Montgomery County review found Badgujar’s initial contact with White was lawful, since White “thrust his right hand into his right jacket pocket while raising his right shoulder,” leading Badgujar “to believe that Mr. White was armed and thus provided the legal foundation for a stop.”

A folding knife was found in White’s right front pocket, but was not displayed during the incident.

The police review cites body worn camera video released in August 2018.

In the full video, posted on YouTube by the Montgomery County police, Badgujar had a gun drawn as he attempted to stop White, who was walking through the parking lot of a garden apartment complex. White repeatedly yelled “Do it” at the officer, prompting Badgujar to tell a police dispatcher, “He’s got his hands in his pocket — it might be a suicide-by-cop type of thing.”

After several minutes of White saying “Do it,” Badgujar responded, “Sir, I do not want to shoot you.”

Eventually, shortly after Badjugar removed the keys from his cruiser, White ran at the officer, saying, “Big shot, do it.” The officer fired once, as he and White fell to the ground.

“Mr. White got up quickly, yelled ‘Do it again,’ and stood over the officer, who appeared to be in a sitting position on the ground. Mr. White is seen on the video holding the officer down while punching him in the head,” according to the police review.

Badgujar fired more than a half-dozen shots, and White fell to the ground, wounded.

Contacted by WTOP, Capt. Thomas Jordan, director of the police department’s public information division confirmed Badgujar remains on the force, but declined to specify in what capacity.

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