Police in Montgomery County, Md., are investigating body camera video of an officer using a racial slur during an encounter with a group of black men being questioned for possible trespassing.
Footage from the incident, initially posed to Instagram, was released by the Montgomery County Police Department on Thursday, The Washington Post reported.
The roughly 12-minute clip begins with the unnamed, white female officer responding to a situation outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Silver Springs early Thursday. She’s heard laughing and making small talk with the fours young men, who were lined up along the building.
Things quickly went left, however, when the officer used the n-word.
“Y’all n—–s been trying to do something,” she says, seemingly in response to one of the men. It’s not immediately clear who she’s talking to.
Someone in the background is heard calling her a “racist bitch,” but the officer shrugs it off it, saying she was only repeating what someone in the group had said.
“Uh, nope, that’s a quote, those were your words,” she tells the men. “What I’m doing is repeating your words.”
Montgomery County PD said Thursday that it was aware of the offending video and that it was investigating. Police later released a full statement apologizing for the incident.
“The matter brought to our attention today is disturbing and contrary to our department’s values and our overarching mission to fairly and impartially serve our community,” it read, adding that the rhetoric runs counter to the department’s “extensive training curriculum,” which includes implicit bias training.”
“We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video,” it continued. “We understand the pain such language causes the entire community. “
Police spokesman Rick Goodale said the department is reviewing “all the facts and circumstances of this encounter.”
According to Goodale, the incident started as police were investigating a report of possible trespassing at the McDonald’s. The department said it hass reached out to the persons involved and are working to determine whether any citations or charges were issued during the incident.
The ages of the young men are unknown.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said the officer’s use of the slur wasn’t only unjustifiable, but harmful to the department’s rapport with the community.
“Every time something like this happens, it hurts the reputation of all our officers; and it works against efforts to build trust in the community,” Elrich said in a statement.
Council member Will Jawando (D-At Large), along with multiple other local leaders, called on authorities to investigate the incident after watching the video. Jawando wants the department to specifically look into why the men were stopped and questioned in the first place.
“I think there’s a larger issue . . . who and why and how we’re stopping and detaining individuals,” Jawando told The Washington Post. “When you do that, it can lead to disproportionate arrests and use of force, which is not a good thing. It doesn’t build trust in the community.”
It’s unclear if the officer in the video will be placed on leave pending an investigation.
Watch more in the video below.