Former Md. police officer found guilty of excessive force during traffic stop

A former Maryland police officer has been found guilty by a federal jury in D.C. of violating the civil rights of a driver when he used excessive force during a traffic stop.

On Aug. 4, 2019, 40-year-old Philip Dupree, who was working for the Fairmount Heights Police Department, pulled over a speeding driver who had just crossed the Prince George’s County line into the District.

The driver, who was handcuffed, cursed at Dupree. According to federal prosecutors, Dupree sprayed pepper spray into the driver’s face from close range. In his report, Dupree wrote he used the spray because the driver bit him, but prosecutors said the biting never happened.

Charges against the driver were dismissed in state court.

Monday, a federal jury in the District found Dupree guilty of one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, for using excessive force.

However, the jury found Dupree not guilty of obstructing justice in filing the false report. The defense said the evidence didn’t prove Dupree had filed the report with the intent of preventing a federal investigation of the incident.

“The victim was handcuffed and already restrained in the back of the defendant’s squad car at the time of the assault,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a statement. “Police brutality and violent misconduct against defenseless people are disgraceful acts that have no place in our society today.”

Dupree faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. He has been on free on personal recognizance since he was indicted in August 2022.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up