Prince George’s Co. officer accused of punching man during arrest

A Prince George’s County police officer is accused of repeatedly punching a man’s face during an October arrest in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Cpl. Stephen Downey, who is white, punched the handcuffed man, who is black, “numerous times” after the officer had put a seat belt on him in the front seat of a police cruiser, according to Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

Downey had been responding to a call at a CVS pharmacy, she said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

A grand jury indicted Downey on charges of second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski praised the officer’s peers in the department with reporting the allegation, and reiterated that his department has “a healthy culture of accountability.”

“The vast majority of men and women who serve us on the Prince George’s County Police Department serve us well and serve us with integrity,” he said Thursday.

“So, when incidents like this occur, we stand together with our police department to send a message to the community that this behavior is unacceptable in this county, and that we will seek justice on behalf of victims in every single case — including those who have been assaulted by officers.”

Downey will be suspended with pay because the charges are misdemeanors. After the trial, Stawinski said Downey will be subject to an administrative process that could mean termination.

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