A Maryland police officer involved in a traffic stop that left a man partially paralyzed was indicted on misdemeanor charges.
A grand jury indicted Prince George’s County Police Officer Bryant Strong on second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy announced.
Officers pulled over Demonte Ward Blake in the 4700 block of Wheeler Road in Oxon Hill last October. Strong arrested Blake for driving on a suspended license, police said. While Strong searched the handcuffed Blake, a brief struggle resulted in the suspect being taken to the ground and suffering a spinal injury that left him partially paralyzed.
At the time of the incident, then Police Chief Hank Stawinski said the incident was not malicious or intentional but a horrible accident.
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Strong’s police powers were suspended following the announcement of the criminal charges, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
“The injuries the suspect suffered are tragic, and the entire department’s hearts are heavy regarding the outcome that day. We respect the grand jury's decision and now await the outcome of the criminal trial,” interim Police Chief Hector Velez said.
Strong’s police union issued a statement in his support.
“FOP Lodge 89 was shocked to learn that Ofc. Strong was indicted today by a Prince George’s County Grand Jury,” it read. “We are confident that the evidence will show that his actions were fully justified and within policy.”
Strong joined the force in 2013, according to officials.