Acting Chief Says Officer Had Cause to Detain Suspects In White Oak Incident

Acting Chief Says Officer Had Cause to Detain Suspects In White Oak Incident

Two suspects were given marijuana citations

| Published:
Jones-July-12

Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones

Dan Schere

Montgomery County Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said Friday that the nine officers who detained four men on May 9 at a White Oak McDonald’s had cause to search them for drugs, and that it was not a case of racial profiling.

At a news conference, Jones said the police received a call from the restaurant manager saying that the individuals were trespassing and had not purchased food. The officers who responded discovered two of the men had marijuana and issued civil citations.

The incident sparked outrage from elected officials and other activist groups, along with allegations of racial profiling after a video surfaced the same day, showing a white female officer using the n-word toward the four men, who are black.

Officer Danielle Olsen, who used the racial slur, was placed on desk duty last month. Jones said the other eight officers remain on the force, although an internal review of the matter is ongoing.

The police department on Friday released 205 minutes of the officers’ body camera footage along with the names of all nine officers involved in the incident. Jones said the video shows parts of the incident that videos posted on social media did not.

Jones said Friday Sgt. Michael McDannell responded to the call by first asking the four men to leave because they had not purchased food from the restaurant and were trespassing. After smelling marijuana, Jones said the officers found cause to search the four men. All four of the men were given trespassing notices, and two were given marijuana civil citations.

“This is not what some people call a random “stop and frisk” action,” Jones said. “It began with the officer approaching the four men in the video and asking them to move along.”

Jones denied allegations that the four men were detained because of their race.

“We do not tolerate racial profiling and it was not in evidence here,” he said.

Jones acknowledged that some of the language in the video is “decidedly unprofessional.”

“We are doing some retraining on professional conduct with our officers throughout the rest of this year,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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