Police Advise Residents that School Season Starts Next Week; Watch for School Buses

As we approach a new school year next week, the Montgomery County Department of Police are reminding all residents to be vigilant and pay attention to school buses as they pick-up and drop off children throughout the day.

This year, all Montgomery County School buses will be equipped with safety cameras that will capture the images of drivers who neglect to stop for school buses in the process of dropping off and picking up school children.  Negligent drivers will receive a civil citation with a fine starting at $250 with penalties going up to $500.

Drivers are required to stop in both directions for any school bus with it’s lights on and STOP sign extended who is in the process of picking up or dropping off children.  Unless there is a physical median divider, you are required to stop for the buses even if you are in the opposite lanes of traffic.

Click here for more information on stopping for school buses:  School Bus – Stopping (Note: Automated Fines are now $250)

Our goal is to have every child make it to school and return home safely every single day.  Attached are school bus safety camera footage showing just how dangerous failing to stop for school buses has become.

Last year, over 54,000 school bus safety citations were issued to drivers who failed to stop for school buses.

The failure by drivers to stop for school buses can result in catastrophic consequences.  There is absolutely no reason to hurry and drive impatiently that is worth the loss of or injury to any of our children.

Please be advised, some of these videos can be difficult to watch.  Parental advisement is recommended.

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CTJ

Statement by Acting Chief Marcus Jones Regarding White Oak Incident; Additional Body-Worn Camera Footage Released

The following is a release of the statement to be provided by Acting Chief Marcus Jones at today’s press conference regarding the White Oak incident.

 

“There has been a great deal of interest by the public and from our elected officials about an incident that took place on May 9, 2019 at the McDonald’s restaurant at 11146 New Hampshire Avenue in White Oak.

In the interest of transparency, today we are releasing 205 minutes of video taken with body-worn cameras by our officers at the scene.

This is a release of all the body-worn camera footage available.  One of our officers, Sergeant McDannell, did not turn on his camera immediately as is required but did turn it on as the incident progressed.

I also want to emphasize that you will hear on this tape language from our officers that is decidedly unprofessional.  It violates our Department policy, it is not acceptable to me and it is not acceptable to our community.

Before getting into the details of the incident, I want to make it clear that I cannot discuss, or take questions, on any details of our internal investigation as it still in progress.

I would like to set out a broader context for the events of May 9 than has been available previously.

Our officers are very familiar with the White Oak area and with the McDonald’s restaurant specifically.  The beat involved here is one of our busiest in terms of calls for service.

Within that beat, this McDonald’s restaurant is one of the establishments that most frequently generates calls for service.  In 2018, there were 192 calls for service, with 57 of those dealing with trespassing.  Through June 15 of this year, there have been 53 calls for service, with 21 of those for trespassing.

The manager of the restaurant not only encourages his employees to call the police when there are issues, he also requested that we take action when officers view a situation that might be disruptive to the business or which we believe might be of a criminal nature.

We work with the McDonald’s to make certain there is a safe environment for customers and employees.  In this instance, our officer approached the four individuals involved outside of the restaurant and asked them to move along.

The reporting and social media postings at the time reflected the view that we unfairly and perhaps illegally accosted and searched young men who had been customers of the restaurant and were waiting to be picked up to be taken to work.

The evidence from our investigation presents a different view.

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

At that point, and what was not apparent on the social media video of the incident, was that our officers detected the odor of marijuana on at least two of the individuals.

This was probable cause for arrest, and the reason why the individuals and a backpack were searched.

We have also determined through security camera video that none of the men were customers of the restaurant.  None had ordered, consumed or picked up food or drinks inside the restaurant.

This was not an incident of racial profiling.  Our officers are trained in Constitutional policing while in the Training Academy and after they graduate.  We exceed the State standards in this area.  We do not tolerate racial profiling and it was not in evidence here.

At the end of the day, all of the men were issued trespass notices and two were issued Maryland Civil Citations for marijuana possession.  You will see on the video that at least one of the men was familiar with this process.

For the record, the store manager has asked that the trespass notices given to the four men not be rescinded, as some others have requested.

Thank you for your attention.  The video will be posted online for your viewing shortly after we conclude here.

And again, I want to apologize for the language of our officers that you will hear in the video.  I am disappointed with it, and I want to be clear it does not meet our standards.”

The body-worn camera footage related to this incident can be accessed and viewed at the following links:

Sergeant M. McDannell

Officer T. Fox

Officer M. Washington (part 1):

Officer M. Washington (part 2)

Officer K. Harrington

Officer J. Mirra (part 1)

Officer J. Mirra (part 2)

Officer J. Dodson 

Officer F. Ronald (part 1)

Officer F. Ronald (part 2)

Officer D. Olsen

Lieutenant E. Bunting

 

The policies of the Montgomery County Department of Police can be found at the following link:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/resource/policies.html

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CTJ

Statement Regarding July 3 Video on Social Media from Aspen Hill

Yesterday, July 4th, the Montgomery County Department of Police were made aware of a video that was posted on Twitter during the evening of July 3.  The video showed a Montgomery County Police officer using force while making an arrest at a shopping center in Aspen Hill.

The preliminary investigation has determined that on July 3, 2019,  officers from the 4th District were conducting an undercover operation regarding a suspect selling psilocybin mushrooms in the Aspen Hill area.  During this investigation, officers identified the suspect as 19-year-old Arnaldo Pesoa of Silver Spring.  Plainclothes officers located Pesoa inside a restaurant in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center located at 13701 Connecticut Avenue and attempted to place him under arrest for the attempted distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.  Pesoa became disorderly with the officers inside the restaurant and resisted the arrest.  Officers eventually removed Pesoa from the restaurant.  While outside the restaurant, Pesoa continued to act in a disorderly manner and resist arrest.

Pesoa was transported to the Central Processing Unit where he was charged with one count of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, one count of attempt distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of second-degree assault.  Pesoa was released after posting a $5,000 bond.

The Montgomery County Department of Police takes all complaints or evidence of excessive force seriously.

As a result of the Department’s preliminary investigation into this arrest, the officer involved has been identified as Police Officer III Kevin Moris of the 4th District Special Assignment Team.  Officer Moris’ police powers have been suspended and he has been assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation. Furthermore, the officer’s use of force during this incident will be investigated by MCP’s Criminal Investigations Division and upon completion, the findings will be referred to the Montgomery County State’s Attorneys Office for review.

The Department’s internal investigation into this incident is ongoing.  Any witnesses or persons who may have more information regarding this incident are encouraged to call the Internal Affairs Division at 240-773-6000.

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Statement Regarding May 14th County Council Letter

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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CTJ

Statement Regarding Video on Social Media from Silver Spring

The Montgomery County Department of Police takes all allegations of racial discrimination seriously.  We are committed to serving all members of the community in a fair, impartial, and non-discriminatory manner at all times.  All allegations of misconduct surrounding inappropriate actions or language by our employees are investigated by our Internal Affairs Division, at times in concert with other governmental agencies within Montgomery County.

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.  The statements observed on the social media video clip are contrary to our extensive training curriculum that include implicit bias training and other training programs to ensure fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory policing in our community.

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. As part of our commitment to accountability and transparency, we are releasing both the social media video and the body worn camera footage of the involved officer for all to view.

The referenced videos were captured during an interaction between officers and four individuals at the McDonalds located at 11146 New Hampshire Avenue, in Silver Spring, on today’s date at 10:36 a.m.  The officers were investigating trespassers at that location.

Instagram Video

Body Camera Footage

This incident remains under investigation and appropriate actions shall be taken in conformance with applicable laws and policy.

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CTJ