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Contee, then assistant chief, defended the incident to the council. He said it was an example of “intelligent policing,” which he differentiated from jump-outs because the cars parked in front of Nook’s had tinted windows and officers observed people going in and out of the vehicle. That was reasonable suspicion to search the group, Contee explained.
BLM DC’s Goggans told The Appeal that the tactics displayed in the Nook’s incident are commonplace within the GRU. She said the unit also detains people who don’t have weapons on them until the person can point them in the direction of a gun or someone who has a gun. “With Gun Recovery, they will get guys and they will say, ‘We’ll let you go if you call friends to bring a gun,’” Goggans said.
The veteran wrote that a 2018 video recorded by Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White is illustrative of this GRU tactic. The video shows two teens detained for allegedly having an empty magazine.
“The GRU members told the teens they would not be released unless they disclosed the location of a gun or a person armed with one,” the veteran wrote. “MPD’s leadership has been made aware of this dubious tactic yet has taken no corrective action.”
Goggans described the GRU engaging in targeted harassment such as calling out the names of people while on patrol to “thank” them for talking to them—a clear implication that they are informants, which would threaten their safety in the neighborhood.
“The police see Black folks, people in this community, as enemy combatants. So once you’ve determined somebody is an enemy combatant, then the way you engage them is different,” Goggans said.