Editorial: A lack of transparency about officer shooting raises more questions
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 3rd May 2019
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This is not the first time the proverbial “spin factor” has failed to work Johnny O. ( Photo credit/Facebook)

 

When The Baltimore Post first received information that a Baltimore County police officer had been shot in the Linwood area of Parkville, we contacted the Media & Public Affairs Section (MPAS) of the police department.

The response we received was disturbing on several levels.

First, when the Post attempted to verify the information that we received about the shooting, we were met with a complete lack of transparency.

We were attempting to confirm that the officer who was shot was a female. Additionally, we learned from our sources that a male subject was found deceased at the home from which the 911 call was received. However, MPAS told us they could not confirm any of those details. The only information the media officer on duty would release was that an officer was dispatched to the scene to report on an incident. The words “man with a gun” or “armed suspect” were never used during our initial conversation with the MPAS.

There are several disconcerting issues about the handling of this shooting incident.

At the beginning of this incident, other media outlets reported that the injured officer was a male. Think of the many family members of male officers working in the Parkville precinct who frightfully heard those erroneous reports endorsed by the Johnny O administration, not to mention the uncertainty created by the lack of transparency shown toward the Post. Those factors combined could have created terror in the hearts and minds of many potentially impacted by this false narrative.

In fact, during the initial news conference involving the original police media relations officer on the scene, a momentary slip happened and the spokesperson started to say the word “female,” but quickly retracted that statement while describing the horrific shooting.

Police media personnel kept referring to a wound to the officer’s upper body. As the Post first reported, our sources revealed the wound occurred in the officer’s midsection. In earlier media video clips, authorities initially indicated the wound occurred anywhere from the “midsection to the upper body.”

Also, one media outlet reporting on the incident in the late edition of the evening news used the word “female” to identify the injured officer. After making that statement, the reporter indicated that information came from a source and not from the police department.

A day later, we have learned from the police department that this whole incident involved a “friendly fire” situation, along with a possible “suicide by cop.” According to Cpl. Shawn Vinson of the MPAS, the findings of this investigation will be turned over to the Baltimore County States Attorney’s office for review. Those findings will include a forensic study of the location where the officer was wounded, along with her body cam footage.

The Baltimore County Police Department also promised an internal investigation into this shooting incident. The Post will digress on any further comments out of respect of those officers impacted by this horrific incident.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. has attempted to spin the facts of police investigations.

Three of the most recent incidents include the police response to the home of Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and the two major disturbances at the Eastpoint Mall.

In closing, there is one comment that the county executive made to a media outlet that we found to be rather disturbing as a direct affront to every man and woman wears the blue uniform every day protecting the citizens of this county.

After it was revealed that the wounded officer was a close personal friend of Ofc. Amy Caprio, who was killed in the line of duty, the county executive referred to the horrific murder of Ofc. Caprio as an “unfortunate incident.”

How dare he downplay the murder of a police officer by a repeat juvenile offender who callously and cowardly crushed Ofc. Caprio to death.

Shame on you, sir. The men and women in blue deserve much more respect than that.