UMd. Police Officer Suspended for Pepper Spray Incident

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An internal review by the University of Maryland police determined that an officer didn’t follow guidelines when he deployed pepper spray at a predominantly black graduation party in May.

An unidentified officer used pepper spray twice at an off-campus graduation party for UM students. After a seven-week internal investigation, UMPD found that one instance — when he sprayed several students in a breezeway — was justified, while another — when he sprayed the “wrong person” while a student was struggling with police — was not.

UM police chief David Mitchell didn’t mince words. “We don’t get it wrong too often, but we got it wrong here,” he said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I’m holding the officer involved in this accountable and he’s been severely disciplined.” The officer has been suspended for two weeks without pay.

While it may please some who criticized the officer’s actions on social media, the determination does not actually vindicate the gist of the accusations. As seriously as Mitchell appears to be taking the incident, the officer’s suspension doesn’t have anything to do with an eagerness to deploy pepper spray at a black party, but rather for spraying it in the wrong direction.

Interestingly enough, the 911 call about a “potential fight and a weapon” — which originally brought police to the party — was found to have been falsely made by students who hadn’t been let in, according to the Sun.

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