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Officers Suspended for "Racially Inappropriate" YouTube Video

Officers appeared in uniform in "spoof" video parodying notion of "driving while black", according to Prince George's Police Chief.

Two Prince George's County Police Department officers have been suspended today for acting in a video posted to YouTube which county Police Chief Mark Magaw described as racially insensitive. 

According to Magaw, speaking to reporters during a press conference at Prince George's County police headquarters in Palmer Park, the officers could be fired for taking part in the video, which he said was supposed to "spoof" the idea of "driving while black", the idea that African-American's are treated with more scrutiny by police officers patrolling the streets, roads and highways.

"A profane and racially insensitive video including two Prince George's County Police Department officers was circulated on the internet," said Magaw to reporters. "The video was disparaging not only to our profession, but also to the community we serve."

One officer involved in the video production was a 10 year veteran of the department, the other was a three year veteran of the force. Both were patrol officers working out of the county's district 5 station. Magaw said that the officers face the possibility of being fired for their participation in the video production, but a final decision about their punishment would have to wait until an internal investigation concluded.

According to Magaw, the video was uploaded to YouTube on Nov. 1. Magaw said department internal affairs investigators were notified of the video this morning via an anonymous online tip.

Magaw said the video depicted two African-American police officers wearing county police uniforms exiting a marked Prince George's County Police Department cruiser and then acting out a traffic stop where they interrogate a third African-American actor driving a car. During the video, Magaw said the officers used racially inappropriate language.

Magaw said the third actor is a local comedian. Magaw did not believe the third actor, who he did not name, had violated any laws by participating in the video, but he said that a final determination would be made after the internal investigation.

Magaw said he did not believe that the officers were on duty at the time they participated in the video production, but a final determination on that would come out of the internal investigation.

Vince Canales, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89, which represents members of the Prince George's County Police Department, agreed that the video was inappropriate, but asked the public to be patient while the internal investigation was completed. 

Magaw said the video had high production values, but the content was deplorable.

"It appears that it was supposed to be a spoof, but it wasn't funny at all," said Magaw. "People make mistakes, people do stupid things. Both of these officers will be held accountable for their actions."

tracey smith November 17, 2012 at 01:02 AM
They should be fired!!!!!
Nick November 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I can't judge until I see the video. Link?
Michael Theis November 17, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Trust me, I've looked. I can't find it anywhere. I thin they took it down before the video spread at all.
Marty November 19, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Way Way too harsh; They appeared in a "spoof video" Is that a reason to end someone's 10 year career, saving lives and protecting the public? I could understand a slap on the hand but I don't think the crime fits the punishment at all.
Marty November 19, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Also, all the media attention this case has received is ridiculous; There are much more important things to focus on, like..um..solving actual crimes in PG. Makes me think there are some egos involved at the the top levels who are using this as a means to get publicity and political celebrity.
bckarn November 19, 2012 at 01:11 PM
These officers should have known better than to post a politically inappropriate video on YouTube, but I do not think that they should be fired or even suspended for using poor judgement.Ad meeting with the Human Relations director should suffice. I find it ironic that this situation has mushroomed to a major offense at the same time that a young woman was acquitted of a murder charge after stabbing her roomate to death.
Shaka Zulu November 19, 2012 at 06:27 PM
If it was the other way around not a word would have been said. Oh well we all know you are not allowed to even say racist jokes now, so they should have known better, they would have been better off discharging their weapon somewhere, at least they would only be put on leave with pay.
s stewart November 20, 2012 at 03:49 AM
They caught the Utube fever and made a dumb video. I didn't think it was funny and it had too much profanity. They should stick to Caprices and leave Hondas alone. Give them a light slap on the wrist and send them back to work. At least they know who to look out for.
Tauruslady511 November 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM
They should be fired. I can't see anyone participating in anything, joke or not, that they don't think is funny or believe. Because the are SUPPOSED to protect & serve is EXACTLY why they should be fired. If you slap them on the wrist, you'll be slapping several others on the wrist; send a message now, that this behavior needs to stop! Furthermore, this is another reason folks do NOT trust police officers & don't respect or want to help solve cases. These are the type of officers who make it hard for the true police officers who believe in & do their job wholeheartedly. As for ruining a 10-yr career, I have consequences (read termination) for certain actions attached to my job that don't pertain to many other folks' jobs, but you can bet I don't cross those lines! These officers shouldn't have either! Can you imagine how any future cases, attached to these officers, will be treated? Just DUMB!
Tauruslady511 November 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM
And to the comment about the Bowie State student, she was acquitted because they charged her with the wrong crime. They charged her with murder & with all that came out during the trial (the fact that the deceased was the aggressor & harassing the other girl amongst many other things), this was not a case of murder. The wannabe aggressive prosecutor should have charged this girl w/invol man slaughter & cut a deal instead of sending it to trial!
Pamela Torro November 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
www.youtube.com/watch?v=esrgCZLi_bo&noredirect=1

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