An off-duty police officer from Washington, D.C., alleged that he was inappropriately searched and tackled by a Black Prince George’s County sergeant.
Officer Robert Parker Jr., an officer for the District’s Harbor Patrol dive team, said the sergeant approached him and acted “too quick” to pat him down and detain him, reported the Washington Post.
However, officials for the Prince George’s County Police claimed that Parker matched the description of a shooting suspect in the area. The department confirmed that they stand behind the actions of the officer.
According to Parker, the sergeant came up to him and started to search his person. When the PG officer felt a gun, he tackled Parker to the ground. Parker alleged that when additional officers ran over to the scene, he was hit in the face so hard, it caused swelling.
Parker remembered the entire incident happening so fast that he did not have appropriate time to identify himself as an officer.
“I kept my hands out and to the mid-side of my body,” Parker told the Post. “I was in disbelief. He didn’t tell me what [he was searching me] for. He feels my gun, and I said, ‘I’m a police officer.’ At that moment, he took me to the ground.”
After reviewing the incident, spokespeople for the P.G. County police affirm the notion that the unidentified sergeant acted responsibly.
“We believe our officer acted professionally and with restraint,” Lt. Dave Coleman, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Police, said. “This encounter took place within several minutes of the shooting being reported at Iverson Mall and occurred three blocks from the shooting scene.”
When the sergeant searched the area, he came across Parker, who matched the description — a Black man in blue jeans with a black top — of the suspect, Coleman said. Parker admitted that he wore blue jeans and a black jacket over a black hoodie at the time of the stop.
Based on the descriptions of the two men and Parker’s proximity to the scene, the Prince George’s sergeant who spotted Parker was allowed to perform a fast investigatory stop in order to protect the community, Coleman said.
Coleman also claimed that, during the stop, Parker had more than enough time to identify himself as an officer before the gun was found.
“Our officer took the man to the ground during a brief struggle. It was only after the man was restrained by the original officer and backup officers did he identify himself as a police officer,” Coleman said.
Parker said he has hired an attorney and plans to file a formal complaint. He believes that if he were not Black, this situation would not have resulted in the same outcome.
(Photo: Fox 5 News)