After a shooting at a Maryland mall, an off-duty D.C. police officer claims he was profiled as a suspect and accosted by a Prince George’s County police officer.
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, 5-year veteran harbor patrol officer Robert Parker was wearing a jacket, a hoodie and blue jeans matching the description of an alleged suspect. While Parker was walking away from the Temple Hills, Maryland mall, police encountered him. A Black officer pulled up alongside Parker and allegedly threw him to the ground and punched him in the head.
According to FOX 5 D.C., Parker was not resisting arrest and he believed that if he was a white male, officers would not have approached him. Parker also reportedly suffered an injury to his wrist and sought treatment at the police and fire clinic and an emergency room.
“And I can’t remember if I said OK or was just kind of baffled at the moment. He walked up to me and he started patting me down. And I’m just thinking, is this really happening? Because I know the protocol because I’m a police officer,” Parker tells FOX 5‘s Paul Wagner. “He reaches around and feels my sidearm, my firearm. And I look at him and I see the look in his eye and I say, ‘I’m the police.’ I’m literally slammed. I went to the ground. I kept saying, ‘I’m the police, I’m the police.’ There were two other officers there. I felt their presence and they placed me in handcuffs, and then somebody hit me in the right side of my face.”
However, the police department stands by the 20-year veteran involved in the incident. In a lengthy statement, Prince George’s County police said Parker should have identified himself as an officer sooner. They imply that the incident could have been avoided. The statement reads:
“… Our officer who was responding to the shooting, which had just prompted the lock-down of two nearby schools – spotted a man walking who matched the description. Our officer, a sergeant assigned to our district 4 station, got out of his cruiser and began an investigatory stop. During a pat down, our officer discovered the man had a gun on his waistband. At that point, our officer took the man to the ground during a brief struggle. Our preliminary investigation reveals that it was only after the man was restrained by the original officer and backup officers did he identify himself as a police officer.”