PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. - Prince George's County police have suspended an officer seen in a viral video showing him getting into the backseat of a cruiser with a female, a department spokesperson confirmed.
The video was shared on TikTok on Monday, garnering 2.3 million views by Tuesday. In the video, the officer, who was identified by the department as Francesco Marlett, is seen with an unidentified female outside the marked police vehicle. The two are then seen going into the back of the cruiser together, and closing the door behind them before the video ends.
In 2016, Marlett was suspended from the force without pay after he was accused of beating his girlfriend's 3-year-old child unconscious.
FOX 5 spoke with the person who posted the video on TikTok. He said, his cousin shot the video while they were at the Southlawn neighborhood park in Oxon Hill.
Steven Makell has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years. Makell said that while he did not want to speculate on what happened, the video was disappointing.
"I think it’s just terrible. You are a police officer," he said. "You’re a trusted individual, trusted to ensure the safety of departments. Should something happen, you have to respond at a moment’s notice. If you can’t do either of those, and you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, especially when there are children around. If you’re off duty, that’s one thing. When you are on duty in full uniform, and you’re in a police cruiser…there’s just no excuse. People are fallible, everyone makes mistakes. But like I said, you are entrusted with responsibility, you should be upholding that responsibility. What you do on your own time is your own business but while you’re on duty, be on duty."
Aisha Braveboy, state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, said she was aware of the video. At this point, Braveboy said it is under investigation by internal affairs of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
"We don’t know what circumstances were. We don’t know if there was a violation of departmental policy or the law, you know? That occurred. But that’s why the internal affairs is looking into it, and they’ll make a decision. I think it’s important for everyone to know anywhere you go…like we talked today…there’s surveillance, whether it’s cameras to poles or someone with a cell phone. You’re exposed, you’re out in the open," Braveboy said. "The difficult thing is that when you are picking up things on a camera, they’re somewhat one-dimensional, so you’re only seeing it. You don’t know the emotion. You don’t know the conversation, the circumstances. That’s why police departments have general orders on how officers should conduct themselves while in uniform, while utilizing their cruisers to prevent these types of incidents from happening but at this point, there’s no reason to believe anything criminal occurred. At this point, it’s an investigation of the department."
"As soon as we became aware earlier today, we opened an investigation to determine the circumstances," PGPD tweeted Tuesday. "Additional information will be released once investigated and confirmed"
Prince George's County Police Chief Malik Aziz also confirmed the department's internal affairs unit is looking into Officer Marlett's actions.
"As part of its investigation, the Internal Affairs Division is attempting to interview all parties involved as well as citizens with knowledge of the interactions," the chief's statement reads. "IAD encourages those with knowledge to please assist with the investigation by speaking with detectives. Your information could play a key role in helping us determine exactly what happened and taking appropriate action."
"I know the officer’s actions seen on these videos have sparked a range of emotions in the community and put a negative spotlight on this agency and the many hard-working women and men who wear our uniform," he added. "I expect every officer to conduct themselves in a way that will not dishonor this agency or this county. I assure the residents of Prince George’s County I take this matter extremely seriously."
Watch the video below: