Two Prince George’s County police officers have been charged with kidnapping, misconduct in office and other related counts for allegedly driving two teens suspected of theft around Waldorf, then assaulting one of them after the other got away, according to prosecutors, police and an attorney for one of the teens.
The officers, Christopher Michael Perry, 27, and Michael Rowe, 26 were off duty and in plain clothes during the May 28 incident, which which was first reported by Fox 5. Charles State’s Attorney Anthony Covington on Thursday issued a press release stating that an indictment against the officers had been unsealed.
Julie Parker, a Prince George’s County police spokesman, said the officers were stripped of their police powers soon after the incident but allowed to work administrative jobs while Charles County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a criminal investigation. She said they would have a suspension hearing Monday to determine their status in light of the charges.
“Obviously, the expectation is that police officers conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner, whether they’re on duty or off duty,” Parker said.
The bizarre chain of events that eventually led to the charges began soon after three teens left a Memorial Day picnic in Waldorf, said William Kohler, an attorney for one of the teens. Kohler said a man at the picnic suspected the teens had stolen alcohol from his home, so he went to search them. He found no booze — though there was some left at a basketball court where the teens had been playing — and the teens continued on their way, denying they knew where the alcohol at the basketball court came from, Kohler said.
At some point, though, two officers in a marked Prince George’s County police cruiser pulled up and ordered the teens to stop, Kohler said. One of the teens pedaled away on a bike while the other two stayed there, Kohler said. Kohler said his client, a 15-year-old, dropped to his knees when he heard one of the officers yell, “Stop, or I’ll shoot you in the back.” One of the officers then tackled and beat him, Kohler said.
Kohler said the officers handcuffed his client and the other teen, then drove them around to find the third youth. At some point, Kohler said, his client’s friend slipped out of the handcuffs and got away. That led the officers to tell his client, “You’re going to get the worst of it,” Kohler said.
“What they did was egregious, and it’s just typical of the Prince George’s County police,” Kohler said. “They think they can act with impunity.”
Kohler said the officers drove his client to a few different spots around Waldorf before letting him out of the cruiser at a pool services business. He said the officers beat the 15-year-old again, then told him to put his neck up against a fence and count to 100. He did, and the officers left, leaving the teen about two or three miles from where the encounter began, Kohler said.
Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, said both officers, who also were charged with false imprisonment and second-degree assault, were released on personal recognizance after a bond hearing Thursday. She said she could not comment on the specifics of the incident, other than to say Charles sheriff’s deputies investigated it before turning over the case to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s OfficeCovington, the state’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Perry, who lived in Waldorf, and Rowe, who lived in Upper Marlboro, were both assigned to the Prince George police’s District 2 station and had worked for the department for four years, authorities said. Neither they nor the president of the county’s police union immediately returned phone messages seeking comment Thursday.