Responding to a false complaint of a fight inside a house party, University of Maryland campus police were politely told there was no fight inside.
But they ended up pepper spraying and arresting students anyway.
All in a matter of seconds of knocking on the door.
It was such a raw example of what not to do as an officer, the lead officer ended up suspended without pay for 80 hours after the department’s police chief reviewed body cam footage of the May 21, 2016 incident, which was released Monday.
“Tell me why am I handcuffed,” a female student can be heard during the melee.
“You’re trespassing, that’s why,” responded the female officer.
“Trespassing what? When I live here?” the student responded. “This is my apartment complex.”
“When we tell you to leave, you need to leave,” the cop responded.
The cop then accused her of “grabbing” at officers, but the student said she was just trying to grab her brother who was being arrested.
Charges of refusing to comply against both students have been dropped.
It now appears that the students who reported the fight were angry that they had not been let into the party.
According to the Washington Post:
The incident began when a 911 call summoned officers to a party on campus, and people outside the party — people denied entry to the celebration, whom Mitchell said will be given a criminal summons for their false report — said there was a fight inside, perhaps with someone armed with a bat.
Students answering the door replied cheerfully to the officer’s knock, explaining that it was a graduation celebration, and denied that there was a fight there or any trouble. As officers ordered people to disperse, the scene became increasingly confused and chaotic. When an officer was surrounded by 10 upset people, one of whom was being restrained by others, an officer used pepper spray to break up the crowd.
As a medic was treating people who had been sprayed, people began crowding around, some yelling at police and others trying to calm the situation. When the medic asked for help, police again used pepper spray.
The incident drew accusations of racism because most of the students were black, who said they have attended predominantly white parties that never resulted in such an escalation of force over nothing.
The incident also drew the rare apology from a police chief.
“We don’t often get it wrong. We do here,” said U-Md. Department of Public Safety Chief David Mitchell.