For those unaware of the police “ten signals” or “ten codes” system, the headline is the code for “all clear.” With that explained…
A veteran Baltimore County Police officer has been cleared in a shooting incident that was caught on a surveillance camera in Middle River.
The incident took place on February 18 at Old Eastern Ave. and Harrison Ave. around 2:00 a.m. The shooting took place after a traffic stop in which the officer suspected drug activity.
The traffic stop itself would have been enough cause for concern for the officer, given the area, time, and following events.
The passenger, identified as George Willinger, exited the vehicle, entered the middle of the road, and raised his hands. At the same time, the vehicle—owned and driven by Timothy Dudeck—started to drive away and made a right turn as if attempting to get behind the officer, identified as Officer Jordan Olszewski, a 7-year veteran of the department and assigned to the Essex Precinct.
In my opinion as a retired cop of 39 years, and someone who worked that area, what the suspects did at that moment is what is termed “divided attention.”
The male suspect raised his hands while the suspect vehicle maneuvered around Officer Olszewski—a very distracting movement given the nature of the stop. I believe it was a bit strange when the suspect, Mr. Willinger, raised his arms.
The whole incident was captured on video and clearly showed the events as they unfolded.
As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” In this case, there was some real nasty stuff in that pudding, as explained in this report from the BC Police:
“Police investigators executed a search warrant on the suspect vehicle earlier today and found a loaded handgun in the car.”
The police also found drugs in the vehicle.
I don’t think I have to explain what could have taken place in the wee hours of the morning on a deserted street known for its crime activity had Officer Olszewski approached the vehicle, which was loaded with some really bad stuff.
We’ve seen far too much of those incidents, which usually lead to a dead police officer whose only crime was catching the bad guys with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.
In this case, though, that cookie jar was loaded.
Both the internal police investigation and the review of those findings by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office were correct. The shooting was justifiable given the totality of circumstances.
Before I move on to some other demanding issues, I want to stress that transparency in these police involved shootings is important.
Chief Johnson’s decision to release the video was the right decision because it showed the most important issue of all—TRANSPARENCY.
Yes, that is a word that I use quite often, and rightfully so.
Kudos to “the good guys” for getting this one right.
“Journalists hold those in power accountable.” (From the movie Spotlight)