An incident in which a man sustained a neck injury during a traffic stop in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Thursday, was a “horrible, horrible accident,” according to Police Chief Hank Stawinski.
Stawinski said during a news conference with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on Saturday that he has no information so far that leads him to believe that officers acted to harm the man intentionally.
Prince George’s County police said the man they arrested during the traffic stop in Oxon Hill was trying to escape when an officer grabbed his arm. The man then fell to the ground and hurt his neck, police said in a news release Friday.
NBC Washington identified the man as Demonte Ward-Blake and relatives said he is partially paralyzed from the waist down from injuries to his spinal cord. He also had a broken nose.
The incident happened Thursday around 5:30 p.m. on the 4700 block of Wheeler Road in Oxon Hill. Police saw a car with expired registration tags, and pulled the driver over.
“We are deeply concerned about what happened in this situation,” said Alsobrooks. “I want you to know that we are in the process of conducting an investigation, that it will be comprehensive, that the investigation will be transparent … We share the views of the public, that this particular outcome was unanticipated.”
He said that it is documented as a “use of force” investigation and that they will look at the actions of all of the officers on the scene to determine if the officers conducted themselves within proper procedures. Stawinski added that this is “not an acceptable outcome” of a traffic stop.
The officer who took the suspect down has been assigned to administrative duty, but his police powers have not been suspended.
Officials have not released the names of the officers involved in the incident.