Montgomery Co. police investigating officer heard on video using racial slur

While many of us hand out valentines Feb. 14, Montgomery County police officers will hand out tickets to distracted drivers caught holding cellphones.(WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Editor’s note: The video and text in this story may be offensive to some readers.

The Montgomery County Police Department said it is investigating an incident Thursday where one of its officers used a racial slur when responding to a call.

Police were dispatched to the McDonald’s on New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland, around 10:30 a.m. over what police said was a report of trespassing. After arriving on scene, they began to question four black men and conduct a search of their belongings.

During the interaction, which was initially caught on camera by one of the men being detained and later shared to Instagram, a racial slur is used by a white female police officer. Police released body-camera footage from the female officer Thursday evening in addition to the full Instagram video. Watch both videos below.

Instagram video:


Police Body-camera Footage:


Here is a transcript of a portion of the interaction between the man and officer:

Detained Man: You n*****s came to write a whole bunch of paper work.

Female officer: Hey, we’re trying, you want to get out of here fast, right? So if we have more people…

Man Off-Camera: What did you say, sir?

Female officer: Y’all n****s been tryin’ to somethin’. If you want to get out of here faster, we have more of our friends to help you get out faster.

Detained Man: Racist-a** b***h.

Female officer: Nope, that’s a quote, those were your words.

Detained Man: I bet if she didn’t have that badge on, she wouldn’t call us no n*****s.

Female officer: I would still say it because what I’m doing is repeating your words.

In a statement, police said that the comments in the video clip are “disturbing and contrary to our department’s values and our overarching mission to fairly and impartially serve our community.”

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released a statement Thursday, saying that he spoke with Acting Police Chief Russell Hamill and he recognizes the seriousness of the situation.

The officer’s comments recorded on the video violate the standards which we expect our officers to uphold. There are no circumstances that justify what the officer said. Every time something like this happens it hurts the reputation of all officers; and it works against efforts to build trust in the community.

— Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro said in a statement Friday that

“These actions are not representative of the high expectations we hold our County’s police officers and it is my expectation that the individuals involved will be held accountable for these offensive actions. We are and will continue to be an inclusive County and it is imperative that we continue our work to engage in education and outreach to sensitize our residents on the harmful effects of racism on the residents of our communities.”

In a statement on Facebook, Will Jawando, an at-large member of the council, called the video “disturbing” and said he would be monitoring the situation.

” … I have spoken to the Montgomery County Police leadership about the incident and to express that this type of language is unacceptable. I understand they have launched an internal investigation into the situation. I also asked the chief to investigate the circumstance behind why these young people were detained in the first place.”

Montgomery County police said any allegation of misconduct by its employees is investigated by its Internal Affairs Division.

“We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video,” Montgomery County police said. “We understand the pain such language causes the entire community.  Our commitment to having open and honest communication with the community and providing transparent police service persists.”

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up