A Bowie, Maryland, police officer accused of opening fire on a car that prosecutors said was trying to flee a traffic stop has been indicted by a grand jury.
Lt. Ernest Stanley is facing one count of misconduct in office stemming from the incident on Aug. 8, 2018.
It was shortly after 5 p.m. that night when investigators believe Stanley was attempting to stop a vehicle while in uniform. When the driver chose to accelerate and flee the scene, Stanley is accused of pulling his weapon and firing three rounds at the car, according to prosecutors.
One bullet hit the vehicle, but no one was hurt.
“By firing his weapon at a fleeing vehicle when there was no imminent threat, we believe this officer put the occupants of the vehicle and members of the community in danger,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy in a news release announcing the indictment.
“We appreciate the work of the grand jury and respect the decision,” said Bowie police Chief John Nesky in response to the indictment.
Nesky said his police department was not involved in the investigation, and stayed out of the process as the Prince George’s County Police Department investigated what took place.
“We want to make sure that we do everything we can, to make sure that there is a thorough, independent review,” Nesky said.
Nesky said incidents can happen when officers make split-second decisions, but he wants the community to be assured that there is a review process in place to look into them.
Stanley, who has been on the force for at least 10 years, is currently suspended with pay, according to Nesky.
After a decision in the case is made by the courts, the police department will conduct an administrative review, Nesky said.