WASHINGTON — A Prince George’s County police officer who authorities say struck a fleeing suspect with his police cruiser last summer has been indicted on second-degree assault and misconduct-in-office charges.
Juan Hernandez, an 11-year veteran of the police force, responded to a call about an armed person at an address in the Hyattsville, Maryland, area in the early morning hours of June 13. Shortly after arriving at the scene, Hernandez began chasing a suspect in his police cruiser, according to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s office. Another officer who had responded to the scene pursued the suspect on foot.
Hernandez chased the suspect down a side street and into an open field where he intentionally struck him with his vehicle and knocked him to the ground, according to prosecutors. Police did not recover a weapon, and cruiser cam footage captured the pursuit, prosecutors said.
The man who was struck did not need medical care after being struck, according to prosecutors.
In a statement, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said her office believes Hernandez’s actions were unwarranted.
“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,” she said in the statement.
Hernandez has been suspended since the incident, Prince George’s County police said in a statement. The department conducted an internal investigation and turned the case over to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.
The suspect, who was struck by Hernandez’s cruiser, has been identified as 23-year-old Ulrich Boaoutou. He was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and failure to obey a lawful order in connection with his June 13 arrest, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.