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Montgomery County Council Requests More Bodycam Video After Officer Said Racial Slur

Council members in Montgomery County, Maryland, say they want to see body camera footage from every police officer involved in stopping a group of black men at a McDonald's in White Oak.

The request comes nearly a week after video surfaced of a white Montgomery County officer using a racial slur while talking to the men.

One of the men, Barry Tucker, said he and a group of friends were at the fast food restaurant's parking lot on New Hampshire Avenue waiting for someone to pick them up for landscaping work. He said they've stopped there to get a ride to work for months.

Last Thursday morning, a group of officers arrived and told him and his three friends they were being cited for trespassing, Tucker said.

"I don’t understand why this stop had to happen at all," At-large Council Member Will Jawando said Wednesday.

Tucker's video of the moment one of the officers said a racial slur quickly took off on social media.

"I couldn't believe it. I could not believe it and I couldn't believe her face that she made. She thought it was actually a cool thing to say and it's not. She even said it was appropriate," Tucker said.

Montgomery County police later released about 13 minutes of the officer's body camera footage.

Jawando is among nine council members who signed a letter demanding police release all body camera footage from every officer involved in the stop as well as any 911 recordings.

Jawando says the video could help answer lingering questions.

"Why were they stopped? Why were they detained? Why were they issued trespass orders?"

According to the council's letter, the McDonald's in White Oak has an agreement with officers that allows them to act as private police for the restaurant, enabling them to stop and detain people without getting called for help.

"That’s something that I wasn't aware that was happening and I want to know where is that happening? Who is it happening to?" Jawando said. "When you give that kind of power it lends itself to potential abuse and broad discretion."

Montgomery County police said the department is working on a response to the letter, but would not give further comment.

About 12 minutes into the previously released bodycam video, Tucker can be heard saying a racial slur before the woman officer says the same word.

Tucker then uses a derogatory term toward the officer and tells her she is "racist" after she said the racial slur.

The officer then responds, "Nope, that's a quote. Those were your words."

"We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video. 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," Montgomery County police said in a statement.

Police issued two citations for marijuana possession and all four men were cited for trespassing.

Montgomery County police issued the following statement in response to the council's letter on Thursday: 

We understand and appreciate the concerns regarding the recent incident in White Oak expressed by members of the County Council in their May 14th letter to the Department.

The Department values openness and transparency in its interactions with the public, and this event is no exception. From the moment we became aware of this concerning incident, the Department immediately initiated an Internal Affairs investigation into the event and all employees involved on the same day it occurred. We understand the importance of this matter and how it impacts our credibility and relationships with the community. We also understand the pain and deep concern this incident has caused to so many people.

The Department has been gathering further information and data as well as evaluating training and policies as the investigation and review of the incident proceeds.

The requests for information by members of the Council and others, while not routine, will be handled consistent with laws and policies applicable to the release of information.

There have also been questions and comments regarding the status of the investigation of the officers involved. In accordance with Maryland law, including the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, as well as our local collective bargaining agreement, the Department is conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation of the incident.

We will release more information as it is developed and confirmed.

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