Prince George's County police officer indicted for punching handcuffed suspect repeatedly

A police officer in Prince George's County has been indicted on misdemeanor charges for assaulting a person during an arrest, Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy announced Thursday.

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Corporal Stephen Downey in relation to an incident that occurred in October 2018.

During a press conference, Braveboy said Downey responded to a scene at a CVS Pharmacy in Temple Hills on Oct. 29, 2018, where he encountered an individual who had been placed in handcuffs in the front seat of a police cruiser. She says the individual was wearing a seatbelt.

Braveboy says while the individual was in custody, Downey punched the person several times in the face with a closed fist during the incident.

Downey has been charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

"Our police officers are charged with enforcing the law, so an incident like this one is of great concern to us," said Braveboy. "The citizens of Prince George's County deserve to be protected by officers who operate with the highest degree of trust and professionalism."

Police Chief Hank Stawinski says Downey's peers reported him for misconduct twice during his administration. Downey was suspended immediately after the allegations against him were made, according to Stawinski.

Stawinski says Downey is currently on paid administrative leave and could potentially be terminated from the department if convicted.