Police in Prince George’s County, Maryland were told to look for a black suspect in blue jeans and a black top following a shooting at Iverson Mall. They found someone who fit the description. However, they failed to realize the man they were detaining was an off-duty police officer.
Officer Robert Parker Jr. is officially filing a complaint against the Prince George’s County Police sergeant who he feels unfairly detained and searched him then struck him upon finding his weapon, according to the Washington Post.
“I never want to be the person to say that,” said the five-year veteran when asked if he felt his race played a factor. “But unfortunately, that’s what it was. . . . I thought, if I were in another neighborhood, if I were someone else, if the lookout was for a white guy in a hoodie and I was white, I don’t think I would have been approached like that. I think I would have been given a lot more courtesy.”
The incident occurred at 1 p.m. only a few blocks away from Parker’s home. He claims the sergeant passed him once, slowed down then turned his vehicle around to stop him.
“We believe our officer acted professionally and with restraint,” said Lt. Dave Coleman, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Police. “This encounter took place within several minutes of the shooting being reported at Iverson Mall and occurred three blocks from the shooting scene.”
Parker claims that he yelled that he was a police officer as the gun was found, but it was too late as two other officers immediately got involved and he was struck on the side of the head. This resulted in swelling as well injuries to his hand and left leg.
“At that point, our officer took the man to the ground during a brief struggle,” Colemen said about the moment the gun was found. “It was only after the man was restrained by the original officer and backup officers did he identify himself as a police officer.”
Parker’s incident goes to show that even black police officers aren’t immune to these kinds of incidents as soon as they’re out of uniform.
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