(CNN)The Montgomery County, Maryland, Department of Police says it is investigating a white female officer after she was recorded on Instagram Live and on her own body camera using the n-word while talking with a group of black men.
Maryland police department investigating officer caught on video using the n-word
The Thursday encounter took place outside of a McDonald's restaurant in Silver Spring, where, according to Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. Thomas Jordan, four African-American men were originally approached by an officer for loitering and trespassing. Because the officer was outnumbered four to one he called for backup, Jordan told CNN.
Body camera video released by Montgomery County police and the now-viral Instagram Live video, recorded by one of the four men being questioned, show the female officer, who was on the scene as backup, speaking to the men in what seems to be a playful tone.
The man recording the video says, "These n****s came to write a whole bunch of paperwork."
The female officer responds using the n-word in her conversation with the men. She can be heard saying it in the Instagram Live video, but it is more audible in the body camera recording.
"Hey you wanna get out of here fast, right? So if we have more people y'all n****s been (unintelligible) something. If you want to get out of here faster, we have more of our friends to help you get out of here faster," the female officer says.
"Racist a** b***h," the man recording says.
"Nope that's quote, those were your words," the female officer says.
"I bet if she didn't have that badge on, she wouldn't call us no n****s," the man responds. In the Instagram video, the female officer is seen waving to the cell phone camera.
"I would still say it because what I'm doing is repeating your words," the female officer says.
CNN reached out Saturday to the man who recorded the video but did not immediately receive a response.
The body camera footage also recorded the female officer mocking the men's speech and engaging in what can be perceived as sexual innuendo as well as exchanging sexually explicit language with one of the men.
Another male officer at the beginning of the video is recorded telling a man being searched that he's "acting like a little girl" because he's complaining about how he's being treated.
The four men were given civil citations for trespassing, police spokesman Jordan said. Officers found less than 10 grams of marijuana on two of the men and issued civil citations for possession of marijuana under 10 grams, Jordan said. No one was arrested.
Montgomery County police released a statement saying the incident was under investigation and "appropriate actions shall be taken in conformance with applicable laws and policy."
The police statement, which included both the Instagram and body camera recordings, did not identify any of the officers involved.
"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 statement said.
"We sincerely regret the disturbing nature of this video. We understand the pain such language causes the entire community," the statement said.
Jordan said the department was concerned about the sexual comments made during the encounter.
"There were a lot of troubling statements that were inappropriate and not indicative of the rest of our police force," Jordan said.
Jordan would not comment on the status of those officers who were at the scene other than to say they are all still on the payroll.
Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando told CNN Saturday morning he saw both videos.
"I had many people reach out on social media and tag me and make sure I saw the video," Jawando said. "I then immediately reached out to the police chief just to share my disgust and disappointment in the professionalism, or lack thereof, of the officer who used that language."
The councilman said the 12-minute bodycam video is riddled with disrespect and inappropriateness.
Jawando said he also told the police chief he needed to investigate the behavior of multiple people who were at the scene, not just the officer who used the n-word.
"Her tone was very demeaning, very disrespectful. They weren't even responding to a call," he said. "These were young men who had eaten breakfast at the McDonald's and were waiting to go to work."
The area where the incident took place, Jordan said, has "17 incidents a month" involving loiterers and drug dealers. Jordan said a beat officer saw the men and decided to approach them for this reason.
One of the things Jawando said was most troubling was that many people were telling him similar incidents had happened to them and that police were always disrespectful toward them.
"My fear is that, much like other parts of the country, this is not an isolated incident and we need to make sure we have the best training and transparency and accountability so this type of behavior doesn't happen and is not acceptable," he said.
Jawando said anyone who uses the language that the female officer used doesn't need to be on the force. He also said the female officer was a veteran on the force with at least 10 years of experience. The police department did not say how long the officer has been working.
"I don't think she needs to continue with the force," he said. "I think in that case, at a minimum, it's a suspension and training, but I just don't think that she needs to work on the police department anymore."