The Towson University police union condemned the suspension of an officer after a shooting over the weekend, claiming that university leadership told officers to “stand down” as a crowd gathered, an assertion the university’s police chief called “reckless.”
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 President Joe Gregory said officers were told not to break up the unsanctioned gathering of hundreds of people that included a DJ and alcohol, news outlets report. The officer on leave had the entire shift monitoring the crowd and when the shooting began, they ran through the crowd to find victims and the suspect, he said. As more information comes out, people will see the suspension as an attack on an officer carrying out orders, Gregory said.
University Police Chief Charles Herring responded in a statement, calling the accusation that officers were ordered to “stand down” during the gathering “reckless, misleading and categorically false.” It hinders the investigation and undermines officers' authority, Herring said.
The officer is on paid leave pending an investigation into whether "established procedures” were performed during the gathering, the university said.
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A Greenbelt man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault. Baltimore County police said he fired a gun during the gathering, striking himself and two others.