Unanswered Questions: NAACP Calls for Independent Investigation of Md. Arrest

Prince George's County Police weren't wearing body cameras during a traffic stop that ended with a man seriously injured

The Prince George's County Chapter of the NAACP is calling for an independent investigation into a traffic stop that ended with a man partially paralyzed.

Demonte Ward-Blake is still hospitalized after police say he tried resisting arrest.

The NAACP is pushing back after viewing the police dashcam video that recorded part of the incident and showed Ward-Blake cooperating. He had been pulled over on Thursday in Oxon Hill for expired temporary tags.

"We have a lot of questions that are unanswered," said Bob Ross, president of the NAACP Prince George's Chapter. "Police are here to serve and protect, not to brutalize the community."

Ross has seen police dashcam video that captured some of the traffic stop, but police have told News4 they don't have video of the takedown that family members said left Ward-Blake partially paralyzed.

Prince George's County police showed News4's Tracee Wilkins the dashcam video of what unfolded.

The traffic stop appeared calm until Ward-Blake's phone rang and he took his hands off the steering wheel. The officer took his gun out of the holster, then Ward-Blake began to curse at the officer. Eventually, the situation calmed down and the officer returned their gun to the holster.

But the situation escalated again when back up arrived. There is no video of what happened then.

Cellphone video shows Ward-Blake not moving, limp and being held by a police officer after the injury.

None of the officers there were wearing body cameras.

The NAACP will pressure County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and the County Council to get body cameras to all the officers in Prince George's County within 90 days, Ross said. Alsobrooks says she plans to phase in body cameras over the next few budget cycles.

Alsobrooks and Police Chief Hank Stawinski have said they want to get to the bottom of how Ward-Blake was injured in police custody.

"It doesn't matter how someone comes into our custody. This is not an acceptable outcome," Stawinski said at a press conference earlier this week.

The NAACP is also questioning the policing going on in District 4 where Ward-Blake was injured.

"District 4 has a bad reputation in the neighborhood. We have received more complaints from District 4 than any other district in the county," Ross said. "We want to know why."

Prince George's County Police say they are continuing their investigation.

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