Published on: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 News

A message from Chief DeVaul to the community regarding sign removal: Please see Chief's updated message

Update to Chief DeVaul’s Message – June 08 at 4:45pm

Redacted text of incoming call for service on June 1, 2020

The redacted text of the incoming call to our dispatch center on June 1, 2020 has been released. Last week, we wanted to respond to the incident as quickly as possible. Now as additional background information is available, we will continue to review the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and continue to make operational improvements as appropriate.


Update to Chief DeVaul’s Message – June 04 at 5:30pm

Body Cam footage: Police Removal of Signs:

Police Chief DeVaul Interview with WJLA TV


Update to Chief DeVaul’s Message – June 02 at 12:00pm

As I have stated in my previous statements, we need to acknowledge and address the issues involving racism and mistreatment of minorities by police and I am committed to making the needed changes. Removing a sign calling for action from a light pole – this during a time when violence against people of color from police officers is rightfully being called out — is not consistent with how we as a police department want and should work with the community.
I also understand this is about more than the removal of signs. The dismissive tone of the officer and the interaction was not how we as a police department should behave.
The officer who responded to remove the signs last night did so as the result of a call from a resident who felt that the language in certain signs displayed would incite violence. Only the involved signs were removed.  Other signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement were left in place. This still does not excuse the dismissive tone and actions of the officer. That is being addressed.


Posted this morning – June 02 at 8:55am

We are aware of the video posted on social media of an interaction between one of our officers removing a sign calling for action from a light pole. Posting signs on light poles and other structures is illegal in Takoma Park. However, during this time of mourning and reflection, we support creating more spaces for residents to express their feelings and raise awareness with signs, posters, and other means. Understanding this need, City Manager Suzanne Ludlow will be putting out an emergency order overriding the posting of sign restriction. We encourage residents to post signs throughout the city.

We have addressed this incident with the involved officer and will be discussing it with all of our staff. As I have stated numerous times, we want to be part of the solution, not the problem. The removal of signs is not part of the solution and for that, I apologize. We all understand that tensions are running high across the country and in Takoma Park. Let’s find a way to learn from this incident and take steps to bring us together.