A judge found a former Metro Transit Police officer not guilty of assault and misconduct charges stemming from a September 2011 arrest.
David Mann responded to a call about a man throwing rocks at a special police officer booth at the Southern Maryland Bus Annex Sept. 2, 2011, prosecutors said. John Dowtin, 60, started throwing the rocks and assaulted a Metro employee when he learned his car may have been towed. That employee managed to get Dotwin on the ground and hold him down with the help of other Metro employees.
According to prosecutors, Mann struck Dotwin in the ribs several times and used pepper spray when struggling to handcuff him. He then lifted Dotwin up and slammed him back to the ground to get his hands in a position where he could be cuffed.
Witnesses said Dotwin was not resisting arrest and video supported that account, prosecutors said. And a use of force expert from Metro Transit Police said slamming a suspect to the ground is not a technique officers are taught.
Dotwin suffered a fractured spine, several broken ribs and three facial fractures, prosecutors said.
Mann said he was sorry about Dotwin's injuries but he was just trying to do his job and had struggled for 8 minutes to cuff Dotwin -- a struggle not captured on video.
"The video does not show me attempting to handcuff him from the sitting position," Mann said. "The video does not show me actually pulling his arm back, asking him to give me his hands. The video doesn't show me pepper spray him. The video doesn't show me calling for priority backup."
Mann was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. He requested a bench trial, and Judge Dwight Jackson cleared Mann Wednesday.
“We are very disappointed with this ruling,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said. “We feel that Mr. Mann’s actions were criminal and we aren’t the only ones who feel this way. The grand jury agreed with us when they indicted Mr. Mann, MTPD agreed with us when they fired him as a result of his actions that night and we believe the citizens of Prince George’s County would agree with us if they had a chance to sit on a jury and view the evidence, including the video of Mr. Mann’s actions.”