News and Information about the University of Maryland Police Department

Open Letter from Chief Mitchell

The incident that occurred at the Courtyards on the morning of May 21 has created distress and anguish among the students affected and within our broader community.

Longstanding UMPD policy automatically requires an internal investigation in any case that involves the deployment of pepper spray.  That review process, currently underway, is governed by clear procedures and could take up to 30 days to complete.  When this administrative investigation is complete, the findings and video from the body cameras worn by officers during the incident will be released. As we prepare for release, protecting the privacy of minors and students involved is a preeminent consideration.     

The question of the appropriateness of the use of pepper spray will not be resolved until the conclusion of the full investigation, and so I must withhold specific comment at this time.  The deployment of pepper spray is a rare occurrence, just ten times in the last five years. 

This incident is especially painful because of the issues that are roiling nationally with respect to racial profiling and police misconduct. UMPD is committed to equity and fairness in all of our interactions with our vibrant and diverse community. We will continue to work diligently toward this end.

While the investigation is underway, I would like to offer to meet with any student, individually or in small groups, for candid, off-the-record conversations.  Or, if it’s easier, any student may email me directly at Throughout my entire career here at UMD, I have valued my close relationships with students and I am committed to keeping our lines of communication open and honest.

The men and women of the University of Maryland Police Department are some of the finest officers I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  I know they all join me in our singular purpose to keep every member of our community safe and secure.