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State's Attorney News

Posted on: August 8, 2019

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY POLICE OFFICER FOUND GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE ASSAULT AND MISCONDUCT

Officer repeatedly punches man in the face while handcuffed behind his back

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Today, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Ingrid Turner found Corporal Stephen Downey, a County police officer, guilty of second degree assault and misconduct in office for assaulting a citizen who was handcuffed and seat belted in a police vehicle. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy was joined by Police Chief Hank Stawinski at a press conference to announced the verdict.

On October 29th, 2018, Prince George’s County police officers responded to a call for service at a CVS Pharmacy in Temple Hills.  One of the officers placed Andre Verdier under arrest with handcuffs behind his back, and then secured him with a seat belt in the front seat of the cruiser. 

While the arresting officer was outside of his cruiser notifying detectives of the arrest, Verdier leaned over to the driver side and began complaining about his handcuffs being too tight. Downey, who also responded to the initial call, then opened the passenger side door and began to yell at Verdier. Downey then asked the arresting officer whether he had cameras in his cruiser and was told no. Subsequently, Downey put on his gloves and punched Verdier in the face multiple times.  

Verdier was subsequently treated for his injuries at Southern Maryland Hospital.

After a three-day bench trial, Judge Turner returned a guilty verdict on all counts.

“Our police officers are charged with protecting the public and enforcing the law. While the majority of our fine officers execute their duties faithfully within the bounds of the law, today's conviction is an example where we’ve successfully held a defendant fully accountable to the law regardless of his occupational status," said State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy. "This defendant abused his position and violated the rights of a citizen he was sworn to protect and now he will have to face the consequences of his unlawful actions.”

"This is the third time during my administration that Prince George's County Police Officers reported misconduct committed by a fellow officer. This is clear evidence to me of a police culture that is in line with the high expectations of the community.  This sort of conduct will not be tolerated by any of us," Chief Stawinski explained.  

Sentencing for Corporal Downey is set for October 25, 2019.  While there is no statutory prescribed punishment for misconduct in office, Corporal Downey faces up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge.
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Contact: Denise Roberts | Phone: 240-832-4970 | Email: dgroberts@co.pg.md.us