New details on shooting of unarmed black man emerge

  • Published in Local

A source close to the investigation has told the Sentinel that the encounter that led to the June 11 officer-involved shooting was initiated by Montgomery County Police Officer Anand Badgujar.

On June 11, Badgujar, 32, shot and killed 41-year-old Robert Lawrence White, an unarmed African-American man from Silver Spring. Badgujar was responding to a separate 911 call when he saw and approached White.

While police released some details of the incident, Montgomery County Police have not answered questions about some of the other details, and have refused to release the 911-call and body-camera footage.


Unarmed Black Man Shot Dead

  • Published in Local

Police officer placed on leave after 41-year-old with previous mental health issues killed

Officer Anand Badgujar.  COURTESY PHOTOOfficer Anand Badgujar. COURTESY PHOTO  Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger placed Officer Anand Badgujar – a two year police veteran – on paid administrative leave this week after the officer apparently shot and killed an unarmed 41-year-old African American man in Silver Spring Monday afternoon.

Police identified the victim as Robert Lawrence White. As recently as November 2015 a local district court judge committed White to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for “examination as to competency to stand trial” in a misdemeanor trespassing case.

The court found “good cause to believe the defendant may be incompetent to stand trial” per an evaluation by the pretrial supervision unit.

The Sentinel has requested a copy of the findings from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene following the court ordered evaluation. The report was not made available by press time.

Badgujar, 32, is a former sergeant on the Baltimore police force where he served for five years. He is currently assigned to the Montgomery County Police Department’s 3rd District patrol division.


County Executive race sees its first attack ad

  • Published in Local

A clip from the ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair.  COURTESY PHOTOA clip from an ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — As the primary approaches, democrats running for County Executive continue to try and jockey for position attempting to appeal to local voters and to be gain attention, one candidate ran the first “attack ad” against an opponent.

Recently, County Council member and candidate for County Executive Roger Berliner (D-1) released an ad attacking one of his opponents, businessman David Blair, with the narrator in the ad saying Blair is a “another rich guy with zero experience, spending his millions to buy this election,” with a black-and-white photo of Blair morphing into a photo of Donald Trump.

But when a new resident to the County asked Berliner at a forum in Bethesda about who was most progressive and who was most conservative among the candidates, Berliner decided to answer the question by giving positive aspects of each candidate – including Blair.

“David Blair has been a successful businessman,” Berliner told the forum, running through the accomplishments of each one of his Democratic opponents.

This is one of the first ads in the County Executive race to directly attack another opponent.


Leggett Makes History With Veto

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First line-item veto by any county executive in 25 years affects stormwater management

Leggett 20091001 104316County Executive Ike Leggett. FILE PHOTO  Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett broke precedent and issued a line-item veto in the County Capital Improvements Programs budget over a fight with a majority of the members of the County Council over the future of stormwater management.

Leggett’s line-item veto, which is narrowly tailored to specific parts of the $4.5 billion capital budget, is the first in Leggett’s nearly 12-year tenure as County Executive and the first line-item veto by any county executive in 25 years. The veto blocks the current status quo of how the County awards contracts for its stormwater-management programs.

In January, Leggett proposed reforming the way the County Department of Environmental Protection awards stormwater-management contracts. Currently, the County offers separate contracts for different companies to plan, design, and build stormwater-management projects. Leggett proposed putting the entire process – the planning, designing, and building – of a stormwater-management contract into one contract for a company to bid on, saying it would make the process more efficient and save taxpayers money.

“I regret that you and the Council majority have made this veto necessary,” Leggett wrote in a letter to Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large). “Playing politics with a critical environmental issue, doubling down on a costly and inefficient status quo, and kicking the proverbial can down the road will never be confused with efficient governance.” 


Wonder Woman Lynda Carter joins other Montgomery County Caps Fans!

  • Published in Sports

Actress Lynda Carter, who lives in Potomac, joins Caps fans as they cheer on the Washington Capitals in their quest for the Stanley Cup.  COURTESY PHOTO Actress Lynda Carter, who lives in Potomac, joins Caps fans as they cheer on the Washington Capitals in their quest for the Stanley Cup. COURTESY PHOTO  ROCKVILLE — Washington Capitals fans have been rocking the red in abundance during the Stanley Cup Finals, particularly in Montgomery County. 

Capitals fans converged Tuesday at Bar Louie in Rockville for Game 4 and saw their team beat the Vegas Golden Knights, 6-2. 

Devoted fans cheered at the top of their lungs after each goal scored and munched on selected appetizers from the menu. Patrons also consumed their drink of choice throughout the evening. Beer was a popular selection for most of the fans in attendance.

The Capitals are just one win away from capturing the franchise’s first ever NHL Stanley Cup trophy. A win Thursday would also break the D.C. curse. It’s been 26 years since a major Washington professional sports franchise has won a championship. 


Slavery in Montgomery County

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New archaeological dig focuses on former slave and will determine the future of Josiah Henson Park museum

This house on Old Georgetown Road is being restored to the way it looked during the 1800s.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKThis house on Old Georgetown Road is being restored to the way it looked during the 1800s. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  Just a few yards off busy Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda, archaeologists with the County Department of Parks are digging up pottery shards, buttons, thimbles, nails, and animal bones that had been used for various chores such as cooking and sewing as well as toys, all dating back to 18th and 19th centuries.

Isaac Riley owned 275 acres there. He also owned 24 slaves, including Josiah Henson, whose later journal writings became the basis for the character Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

As a young boy, Henson watched his father beaten for trying to stop his wife’s rape by the owner of a plantation, where the family was enslaved in Charles County.

Soon after that, Riley purchased Henson and kept him on the North Bethesda property as a slave until 1830. He later became the overseer for Riley and often took the wheat, barley, and corn crops grown on the property to Georgetown to sell.

While living in Maryland, Henson frequented a nearby church that was for white people only. He stood outside and listened as the preacher led the congregation in prayer and song. He developed a love for Christianity and later became a reverend.  

For several years, he strove to buy his freedom, but Riley “lies to him, tricks him,” said Cassandra Michaud, senior archaeologist for the Parks Department.


“These T-Shirts Could Fit Me”

  • Published in Local

Memorial making its rounds through the county outlines those killed in school shootings

A memorial to students killed by gun violence this year is currently on display at Richard Montgomery High School.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKA memorial to students killed by gun violence this year is currently on display at Richard Montgomery High School.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  As David Williams gazed at the display of T-shirts blowing in the breeze at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, he shook his head and said, “These could be my classmates. These T-shirts could fit me.”

Each of the 258 T-shirts hanging along a fence at the high school depicts one young life that had been cut down so far this year due to gun violence in schools throughout the country.

Williams, a 17-year-old high-school senior, said, “It’s important to demonstrate a point like this. It’s definitely attracting attention.”

The T-shirt exhibit has been making the rounds at the many County high schools and already visited Winston Churchill High School in Potomac and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.


Sentinel reporter returns to his roots in fiction with new book

Sentinel reporter Peter Rouleau recently published "Masquerade Ball," a collection of short stories -- many set in Montgomery County.  COURTESY PHOTOSSentinel reporter Peter Rouleau recently published "Masquerade Ball," a collection of short stories -- many set in Montgomery County. COURTESY PHOTOS  ROCKVILLE — Silver Spring resident Peter Rouleau, 36, recently published the book “Masquerade Ball,” a collection of short stories, many of which are set in Montgomery County.

In it, Rouleau explores “deception of how little we know about people we see day to day.”

Rouleau said the inspiration for many of the stories comes from his five years working as a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel. Many of the stories are set within the county. One story takes place at the County Agricultural Fair, which the Sentinel has covered extensively.


Vietnam War veterans attend unveiling of memorial in Rockville

  • Published in Local

A Vietnam War veteran examines the new memorial in Rockville.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKA Vietnam War veteran examines the new memorial in Rockville.           PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  ROCKVILLE — Several hundred people, many of whom wavered between saluting and wiping tears from their eyes, watched solemnly as Montgomery County’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was unveiled Monday afternoon.

The wall, located on Memorial Plaza in Rockville, features the names of the 130 County residents who were killed or reported missing in action during the Vietnam War.

During the afternoon ceremony, each of the 130 names was read aloud, followed by one single strike on a bell.

Just like at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., relatives and friends will be able to see their loved ones’ names and make rubbings for mementos. Also like at the national memorial, several relatives placed bouquets of roses near their loved ones’ names.

“Every time I come over here, I’ll see and remember others who I served with who didn’t come back,” said Stan Seidel, who fought in Vietnam in 1968. He was one of many veterans attending the ceremony, who wore their hats, uniforms, and honors with pride.


Trump cites Montgomery cases on MS-13 violence

  • Published in Local

White House LogoDays after President Trump used the word “animals” to describe people “coming into the country” in response to a question about gangs, he has refused to apologize and has cited cases in Montgomery County as evidence that some gang members are “animals.”

On Monday, the White House Press Secretary’s Office released a statement detailing violent attacks by members of the international gang Mara Salvatrucha-13, more commonly known as MS-13.

The statement specifically mentioned two cases involving alleged members of MS-13 in Montgomery County, doubling down on the “animal” comment the president made which drew widespread criticism as many people interpreted the comment as an attack against all undocumented immigrants, not only members of MS-13.

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