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Maryland Officer Referred to ‘Black Bad Guy’ in K-9 Lesson for Kids

The officer referred to "a black bad guy" while teaching a group of young children how K-9s help officers find suspects

The chief of the Prince George's County Police Department apologized to residents on Monday after he says an officer misspoke and made "an unfortunate remark" on video.

The officer, who Chief Hank Stawinski did not name, referred to "a black bad guy" while teaching a group of young children how K-9s help officers find suspects, video shows. 

"He knows from his training that he sits down when he finds something, when the handler tells him, that has human odor on it. So, for instance, if a black bad guy is running and he drops a cellphone, or he drops this piece of leather that may have evidence or DNA on it," an officer, who is white, said before the video cut out.

The video was a Facebook Live published on the police department's own page on Friday. It did not appear on the page on Tuesday.

In a video the police department released Monday, Stawinski said the officer is a member of the K-9 corps who was working to foster understanding of the dogs.

"During that presentation, one of our handlers made an unfortunate remark. The reality is that that officer misspoke," the chief said. "I have talked to the officer, and he's very troubled by the response that this is eliciting in comparison to his record of service for this community."

Stawinski apologized and said the remark misrepresents the police department. He did not quote the words said in the Facebook Live video.

"What I know is that this community doesn't expect us to be perfect. It does expect us to acknowledge when we've made a mistake, and that's what I'm doing today. So, on behalf of that officer and this institution, I apologize to this community for that unfortunate remark," he said. "But I want you to know that that remark does not represent who that officer is, and it does not represent what this institution stands for."

PGPD has repeatedly been accused of discriminating against minorities. Earlier this year, more than 120 officers signed a complaint with the Department of Justice describing a racist, unfair workplace. Stawinski said the department takes all allegations of racial discrimination seriously.

For several months, all officers have undergone anti-bias training.

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