UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — Authorities in Maryland say a police officer is facing assault and misconduct charges after he was accused of punching a handcuffed man.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy announced the indictment on Thursday of county police Cpl. Stephen Downey for second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
“The vast majority of Prince George’s County Police officers are outstanding public servants, and the actions of this officer should not undermine the public’s overall trust in law enforcement,” said State’s Attorney Braveboy. “The citizens of Prince George’s County deserve to be represented by people who operate with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity. This includes our police officers. As State’s Attorney, it is my job to pursue truth and seek justice for all victims of crime. This case will be treated no differently.”
When Downey responded to a call at a Temple Hills CVS in October, Braveboy says Downey repeatedly punched a handcuffed man in the face while he was belted into the front seat of a cruiser.
Police Chief Hank Stawinski says Downey was suspended with pay after the incident was reported by Downey’s fellow officers.
“I want the community to know that when an officer is accused of wrongdoing, those accusations are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated. As an agency, we value transparency and accountability. Serving as a police officer is a challenging and demanding job that requires professionalism at all times. If any officer fails to meet that expectation, he or she will be held accountable by my administration and this community,” Stawinski said.
He says Downey is white and the man who was allegedly punched is black.
Downey is a seven-year veteran of the department.