Protesters Want Police To Release Unedited Body Camera Footage of Officer-Involved Shooting in Silver Spring
About 100 demonstrate in Veterans Plaza in response to death of unarmed man
A group of protesters in downtown Silver Spring on Tuesday
About 100 protesters gathered in downtown Silver Spring on Tuesday evening to condemn this week’s fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in a nearby townhome community.
The demonstration was planned by a group of organizations, including Black Lives Matter DC Direct Action POD, South Asian Americans Leading Together and the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition. During the event, speakers called for policing reforms and asked the county police department to release the unredacted footage of the encounter between the officer, Anand Badgujar, and Silver Spring resident Robert Lawrence White, 41.
A group of protestors has gathered in downtown Silver Spring in response to yesterday’s police shooting of an unarmed black man nearby. pic.twitter.com/KtXtggegbC— Bethany Rodgers (@BethRodgersBB) June 12, 2018
“When an unarmed man gets shot, it makes me concerned,” Ilhan Cagri, who attended the protest and lives near the neighborhood where the shooting happened, said. “Whenever an unarmed black man gets shot, I’m even more concerned.”
The Montgomery County Department of Police has reported that Badgujar had come upon White in the 9200 block of Three Oaks Drive at about 2:15 p.m. Monday and began investigating him as a suspicious person.
Authorities say White grew “combative” during the interaction and assaulted Badgujar, who tried to pepper spray him. Badgujar first fired his weapon when White charged at him and knocked him to the ground. The officer kept shooting as White “continued to assault” him, according to police.
The police department based its description of the shooting on an eyewitness statement and footage from body cameras worn by Badgujar and another officer who arrived at the scene.
While authorities say they’ll work to release the footage once the case is closed, protesters on Tuesday called on them to publicize it immediately. They also questioned why Badgujar approached White in the first place.
“How many times do we hear of white people and officers saying that black people look suspicious for simply existing in public spaces?” Tracye Redd of Black Lives Matter DC said.
Speakers during the demonstration also want Badgujar fired without pay immediately. Badgujar has been placed on administrative leave, as is protocol.
In a Tuesday statement, County Council member Marc Elrich said he expects the body camera footage from the shooting will be released "as soon as practical, given the investigation."
"I understand the anxiety and anger that the shooting of an unarmed black man engenders. I deeply regret that this incident occurred, and we will thoroughly examine our protocols and procedures in the light of this tragedy," Elrich said.
Detectives are investigating the shooting and once it’s complete, they will turn the results over to the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for review and to decide whether the officer should be charged, according to police.
This story was updated to clarify that the Council on American-Islamic Relations did not sponsor the protest.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.