Police: Maryland officer shot passenger during traffic stop

AP News
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Posted: Feb 18, 2016 6:31 PM

ESSEX, Md. (AP) — A Baltimore County police officer shot a passenger who exited a car that was pulled over during a traffic stop Thursday, according to a department spokesman.

The incident occurred about 2 a.m. on Old Eastern and Harrison avenues in Essex.

Spokesman Cpl. John Wachter said the passenger, who has not yet been identified, exited the car after the vehicle was pulled over for suspected narcotics activity. Wachter said the man then reached for his waistband and turned his body in a motion that made the officer fear for his life.

Wachter said the man was taken to a local hospital for treatment, and that the driver of the car was taken into custody but has not yet been charged with a crime.

Although police initially said no weapon was recovered, Wachter on Thursday evening said police did find a handgun in the car after a search warrant was executed on the vehicle. Wachter couldn't say whether the firearm was legal and whether it was registered to the passenger or driver.

The incident comes amid a national debate over police treatment of black people, but Wachter says in this case the officer and the passenger are white. Their names weren't released.

Wachter says the department doesn't use dashboard cameras and will begin deploying body cameras in July. The department is, however reviewing surveillance footage from the area.