Silver Spring, MD - Prosecutors have released their findings and bodycam footage from a June officer-involved shooting when a man was fatally shot while attacking a police officer (video below).
Based on the evidence and a review of the law, the Office of the State’s Attorney’s for Howard County investigated and determined that Montgomery County Police Officer Anand Badgujar was justified in shooting 41-year-old Robert White on June 11.
“The tape is quite revealing,” Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino told The Washington Post. “It’s pretty clear who the aggressor was.”
The incident began when Officer Badgujar spotted White walking north on Three Oaks Drive in Silver Spring, according to a press release from the Montgomery County Police Department.
White had a large rip down the back of his hooded sweatshirt, and when he saw Officer Badgujar passing, he moved his hand to the right side of his body and stood staring at the officer as he proceeded down Sligo Creek Parkway.
“Police officers are expected to investigate suspicious activity. It’s just part of our job,” Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told The Washington Post. “That suspicion has to have a constitutional basis and needs to be based on behaviors and actions, not race or ethnicity.”
Attorney Morgan Blackledge, who is representing Officer Badgujar, said the officer saw White move his hand to his right pocket as though he were trying to conceal a weapon or contraband.
“He made a split-second decision — and made a U-turn to see if this person was armed,” Blackledge said.
She told The Washington Post that Officer Badgujar had cleared the constitutional hurdle of making a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” to try to stop White and frisk him for a weapon.
“The easier thing to do would have been to just ride on by,” Broccolino said. “But this was a police officer doing his job, seeing something suspicious.”
After White saw the officer watching him, he switched directions and took off away from the officer.
In the video, Officer Badgujar followed White on foot down a neighborhood path and onto another street.
“Hey big man, you need to stop,” Officer Badgujar called out to White.
White abruptly turned around and ran directly at the police officer, prompting Officer Badgujar to run away a bit to establish distance between himself and the suspect.
The officer ran up onto a lawn and radioed dispatch to hurry up in sending his backup as he drew his weapon and pointed it in the direction of White, the video showed.
In the video, White began running towards the officer again, and Officer Badgujar backed up further.
The officer began walking closer to the suspect with his weapon still in his hand, and White began walking away, turning back twice to tell the officer to “Do it! Do it!”
The video showed White headed back to the path with Officer Badgujar following him. At one point, White turned back and lunged at the officer as if to take his weapon, but then he took off running onto the path.
Officer Badgujar radioed his dispatcher their new location and said he thought the suspect was mentally unbalanced.
“M.O. He’s got his hand in his pocket. Might be a suicide-by-cop type of thing,” the officer told the dispatcher.
Officer Badgujar followed White back onto the street from whence they’d come, and White made a rush at the officer patrol car, which sat idling in the middle of the street.
The officer ran to block White’s access to the vehicle to prevent him from jumping in the car and driving away.
“You can’t get it. You can’t get it!” White told the officer in the video.
White reached and put his hand on the driver’s door handle of the patrol car briefly
“Back up!” the officer ordered White.
The man let go of the police car, faced Officer Badgujar, and screamed “Do it!” three times.
White took off on foot away from the patrol car, and the officer followed him.
In the video, Officer Badgujar gave dispatch a description of White as he followed him onto a sidewalk.
White walked past a woman who was standing behind her SUV dealing with a baby in the backseat. He then turned around and began screaming at the officer
The officer told the woman to get the baby.
The officer told his dispatcher that the suspect kept putting his hand in his pocket, the video showed.
Then White reversed directions and headed back toward the SUV with the baby.
Officer Badgujar stepped out into the roadway.
“Sir, I do not want to shoot you,” the officer told White on the video. “I do not want to shoot you, sir.”
“Do it! Do it!” White screamed at the officer.
In the video, the officer can be heard saying “I do not want to shoot you!” at least three different times.
White can be heard shouting “Do it!” at least 21 times on the video, The Washington Post reported.
“Ma’am, get in your car,” the officer ordered as White approached her SUV.
The woman ignored the officer until after White had arrived at her SUV – that’s when she grabbed the baby and ran, the video showed.
White started walking back toward the officer’s police car as his backup arrived.
Before the suspect could reach his vehicle, Officer Badgujar put on a burst of speed and rushed ahead to open his car door and remove the keys from the ignition, the video showed.
That’s when White came after him in a fighting stance, the video showed.
White charged the officer and Officer Badgujar fired one shot at the man as he fell to the ground.
The suspect went down, too, but then he popped right back up and yelled “Do it again!” as he attacked Officer Badgujar who was still on the ground, the video showed.
The officer fired several more rounds as White came at him, and eventually White fell to the ground and stopped moving.
“After reviewing all of the pertinent evidence and after a thorough review of the law, by myself and members of our Senior Staff, we have, unanimously, concluded that Officer Badgujar’s actions were justified under the circumstances. As a result, no further action will be taken by this office,” the lead Howard County prosecutor said in a written statement.
The Montgomery County Police Department’s Internal Affairs detectives are continuing to investigate, and will determine whether Officer Badgujar acted within department rules and policy.
Officer Badgujar has been on administrative leave since the shooting as is protocol.
Watch the entire incident unfold in the video below: