WASHINGTON — A Prince George’s County police officer was suspended following reports that the officer demanded money from drivers in exchange for leniency with traffic violations, Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Saturday.
At least twice, the officer, whose identity has not been released, pulled over a driver and threatened them with traffic violations if they did not give money. The officer was on duty at the time.
Police learned about the allegations, which go back a few weeks, after two citizens called in about two separate traffic stops. One person came forward Friday alleging that he paid the officer in cash during a traffic stop after the officer demanded money instead of giving a citation.
A second person came forward while police were investigating the first report. The second citizen alleged that the same officer also demanded payment for leniency during a similar traffic stop.
Detectives are still investigating both reports. The case will be reviewed by the county’s State’s Attorney.
“It is very early in this investigation, but I wanted to assure our community that immediate action was taken and a thorough investigation is underway,” Stawinski said in a news release. “I take these allegations very seriously. Maintaining the public trust is the highest priority.”
Police are asking anyone who had a similar encounter to call the Internal Affairs Division, at 301-772-4795.
WTOP’s Ana Srikanth contributed to this report.
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