A grand jury indicted a Prince George’s County police officer on assault and misconduct in office charges. Prosecutors say the officer used excessive force when he hit a suspect with his squad car during a chase. Prince George’s County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports. (Published Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016)
A grand jury indicted a Maryland police officer for hitting a suspect with his police cruiser in June, the Prince George’s County state’s attorney said.
Officer Juan Hernandez was one of two officers who responded to a report of an armed person June 13. The other officer chased the suspect on foot while Hernandez followed him in his car onto an open field where he struck the suspect, police said.
Prosecutors believe the action, which was caught on the camera in the police cruiser, was unnecessary, and a grand jury decided it was criminal.
“While it is never a good day when we have to prosecute one of our own, it is important that those we serve understand that we will hold law enforcement accountable when their actions go above and beyond what is necessary,” State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a news release.
Police suspended Hernandez the day of the incident.
“The Prince George’s County Police Department presented this case to the State’s Attorney’s Office for consideration of criminal charges,” Chief Hank Stawinski said in a news release. “I expect our officers to serve this community in a professional manner at all times.”
Hernandez is charged with second-degree assault and misconduct.
The suspect did not need medical treatment.
No weapon was found.
Hernandez has been with the department for 11 years.