Two Prince George's County police officers who appeared in uniform in a racially-charged YouTube video were suspended without pay on Friday, Chief Mark Magaw announced.
The officers, both patrolmen from District V, appeared in what Magaw described as a spoof video about "driving while black." The two black officers are shown pulling over a black driver while dressed in their police uniforms and driving a Prince George's County police cruiser.
During the traffic stop, the officers' conversation with the driver was littered with "demeaning language, racial slurs, and crude stereotypes," he said.
"Supposedly it was a spoof. It was supposed to be funny. But there was nothing funny about it," Magaw said. "We took it very seriously. It depicts our officers and our community in a terrible light."
Police officials did not identify the officers.
Magaw was made aware of the video, which was posted on YouTube, after an anonymous tip was placed to the department's internal affairs division Friday morning. The officers were placed on administrative leave pending a review next week and their police powers have been revoked.
"They both could be fired," Magaw said.
One officer is a 10-year veteran of the department. The other has spent three years with Prince George's County police.
Prince George's police union president Vince Canalas said the video was "very inappropriate," but that the officers must have due process as the investigation continues.
Magaw described the driver in the video, shown being pulled over by the officers, as a local actor who had the idea to produce the video and prompted the officers to act with him. Police did not release his name.
The video, which was posted on YouTube Nov. 1, has since been removed from the website at the department's request, Magaw said.