A woman says an on-duty Prince George's County police officer sexually assaulted her outside a Metro station, prompting the police department to suspend the officer.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski announced the officer's suspension in a news conference Friday night, but did not name the officer.
Stawinski said police responded to a dispute between a man and a woman in Bowie, Maryland, shortly after 4 a.m. Friday.
The woman asked police for a ride so that she could be separated from the man, Stawinski said.
An officer then drove the woman to the New Carrollton Metro station and once they arrived, the officer parked in an area outside the station that is under video surveillance, Stawinski said.
After the woman got out of the cruiser, she reported to Metro Transit Police that the officer inappropriately touched her, Stawinski said.
Transit police started a criminal investigation and say the officer is fully cooperating. Metro Transit Police detectives are reviewing surveillance video from the Metro station as part of their investigation.
Stawinski said his department suspended the officer and began an internal investigation. The department also gave transit police access to the officer's cruiser, Stawinski said.
The officer has been with the department for 26 years and has no previous criminal allegations, according to Stawinski.
The suspension is the latest in a string of incidents involving Prince George's County police.
- In October 2018, Officer 1st Class Ryan Macklin was arrested on rape charges after a woman who is an undocumented immigrant said Macklin pulled her over and forced her to perform a sex act.
- In November 2018, the department suspended an officer after allegations that he had sex with a prostitute in his police cruiser. The officer was off-duty and in D.C. when the alleged incident took place.
- Earlier in November, another officer was suspended after two people said the officer demanded cash to overlook driving violations.
- Eleven Prince George's County officers were suspended after an accidental shooting at a holiday party in Brandywine, Maryland, on Dec. 15, 2018.
- Thirteen Prince George's County officers filed a civil lawsuit accusing the department's leadership of discrimination and retaliation on Dec. 12, 2018. The minority officers said they were punished for reporting other officers' bad behavior. The suit lists examples of what the officers call a hostile work environment, including a white sergeant who had “Go F yourself Obama” license plates on his personal vehicle.
"There was a time that the public wasn't made aware of all the facts and circumstances surrounding these cases," Stawinski said Friday.
"We aim to preserve their trust and by virtue of being transparent, it's my hope to express to them clearly that, yes, in an organization of more than 2,000 people there may be misconduct. There may be crimes committed. But those people will be held accountable," he said.
Stawinski said anyone who was in the area of the New Carollton station shortly before 5 a.m. Friday should contact Metro Transit Police at 301-955-5000.