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Culture of Racism at Police Departments, Including MNCPPC, Spills Out Into the Streets

On January 26, 2018, Steven Alexander was walking through a park on his way home from work as a special police officer at the Embassy of Qatar when he was stopped by Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) officer Mel Proctor. Officer Proctor accosted Mr. Alexander, pepper sprayed him twice in the face, tackled him to the ground, pulled his gun on him, and arrested him for impersonating a police officer, resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and failing to obey a lawful order.

The Court later dismissed all counts against Mr. Alexander, finding that he did nothing wrong other than “walking through a park after having worked a long hard day, carrying his belongings from work, and carrying his groceries, and a police officer who wasn’t following protocol only exacerbated the situation by making it worse.” As a result of this incident, Mr. Alexander lost his job as a special police officer, where he worked for nine years, and continues to struggle with the psychological trauma from this event.

This is an important case because it highlights the complete lack of accountability at MNCPPC, and the broken policing system that allows officers to attack innocent citizens walking through a park, turning an everyday scenario into one of life or death. In bringing this suit, JGL is hoping to shine a light on ways that police departments like MNCPPC can institute profound institutional changes.

This case is also important because it relates to separate, pending litigation by JGL against MNCPPC for racism within the department. A black MNCPPC police officer detailed incidents of racism and humiliation by his co-workers and superiors that included inciting race wars and killing Black Lives Matter protesters. These two cases show that the embedded culture of racism at police departments, including MNCPPC, pervades not only the institutions themselves, but also negatively affects how officers interact with citizens on the streets.

Read more on Atlanta Black Star here.

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