PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Prince George’s County officer has been indicted for allegedly striking a handcuffed man repeatedly in a police car – and the victim talked to FOX 5 on Friday night.
Corporal Stephen Downey was indicted by a grand jury, and charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office after beating the detained man in October.
Andre Verdier never expected the night to end like that.
“It was happening so fast,” Verdier said. “My hands were behind my back.I couldn’t defend myself.”
On Oct. 29, 2018, Verdier found himself on the wrong side of the law – homeless and without options, he went to the back of a CVS location in Temple Hills looking for answers.
“I was trying to get something to eat. I was trying to find out if there was something in there that I could sell,” Verdier said.
The trailer was unlocked, so he wanted inside and eventually fell asleep.
The authorities were called to the scene, and a responding officer approached him.
“He gently brought me out. He helped me out. He said, ‘Are you alright’,” Verdier said.
Verdier says the first officer handcuffed him and sat him in the front seat of a cruiser.
Next, he says, Downey arrived and approached him.
Verdier complained that the cuffs were too tight. Then, Downey acted out of character.
“He came around the car and put his gloves on. And I’m looking at him and wondering why are you putting the gloves on for? And then he came and opened my door and started punching me. Really beating me,” Verdier said.
The alleged victim went on:
“I was bloody all over. I was bloody all over. I had to go to the hospital you know. Didn’t really need stiches or anything like that but I was beaten bad.
The assault prompted a fellow officer on the scene to notify their supervisor. The Internal Affairs Division launched its own investigation, which was then brought to the State’s Attorney’s office for consideration of criminal charges.
After a short stay at a local hospital, and several months of reflection, Verdier managed to walk away with one wish for Corporal Downey.
“I don’t wish evil on him. I don’t wish nothing like that. I wish the best for him and his family you know what I’m saying. And for me like I said, I was homeless. And now, my life is getting better you know what I’m saying. And I wish the best for him and that’s all I could say,” Verdier said.
Verdier has since obtained a lawyer.
As for Downey, he’s currently suspended with pay, but he could face sanctions within the department that could lead to his firing.