A man was left with significant injuries after a traffic stop last week lead to Prince George's County police using a taser on him.
On May 21 in Oxon Hill, police said they began following DeVon Gordon, 31, because the license plate didn't match the vehicle he was driving. After Gordon parked the car and got out, police said they stopped him on foot.
Prince George's County police confirm that Gordon was not the owner of the car he was driving, and they say the vehicle was not reported stolen.
A witness explained what she saw after Gordon was stopped.
“He came walking from the corner of Winthrop and Chester, and the police officers pulled up on him and they made him sit down on the curb,” she said. “They did frisk and check him. I don’t believe they found anything.”
Police confirmed Gordon had no weapons or anything illegal on him and no warrants for his arrest. So for reasons that remain unclear, Gordon decided to run.
“He started running, so they started chasing him and then one of the gentlemen tased him. And he fell down over here behind this burgundy car. And his whole body just went numb, and then he hit the ground,” the witness said.
Police said that's what led to Gordon's injuries.
"I kept asking the officers, ‘What happened, what happened?’ and they just kept telling me, ‘He fell, he fell,’" Timora Gordon, DeVon Gordon's mother, said.
Gordon was transported to the hospital in an ambulance and charged with a number of traffic citations, but was not arrested.
“He got 10 stitches over the top of his eye. They broke his cheekbone,” his mother said. “They bust his lip. And he's got a tooth sitting up in his lip, with two stitches in his lip and they knocked out his teeth.”
Traffic stops resulting in use of force allegations are not unusual for the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to the most recent report from the county's citizen complaint oversight panel, which reviews investigations into officer misconduct, 34% of nearly 500 allegations stemmed from traffic stops in 2019.
More than 80% of all use of force allegations were related to traffic, investigative stops or arrests.
University of Maryland professor Dr. Rashawn Ray researches policing and at one time helped train Prince George's County police.
“Traffic stops are one of the primary ways that people come in contact with police, and oftentimes these can be escalated,” Ray said.
Prince George's County police released a statement saying that after Gordon was transported to the hospital, "a search warrant for Gordon's vehicle was obtained and a gun was recovered along with other illegal drugs."
Two days after the taser incident, Gordon was charged for the gun found in the vehicle and assaulting an officer.
Police said the assault on the officer happened when Gordon stood up to run.
“These are some of the things that advocates are looking at, as to whether or not the taser should be used in this way, and the various ways police come into contact with people,” Ray said.
Gordon's mother said her son has developed seizures since the incident, and that he has multiple surgeries and visits to the doctor ahead.
“He talked to them. He gave them his name. He gave them all the information and everything. So I don't know what’s the reason why they would do that to him,” she said.
Prince George’s County Police said the force used in this incident is still under investigation, as are the officers.
A police department spokesperson said that while Gordon was not under arrest at the time, he was stunned with a taser because police were not done questioning him when he ran.
Police have now issued a warrant for Gordon's arrest.
There is police body camera video connected to this incident. News4 requested to see it but the department’s new police chief, Malik Aziz, wants to craft a video release policy before granting requests, per a county spokesperson.