Police Misconduct in Maryland


photo by Pexel

A police car is seen in this file photo.

by Jocelyn Cerda, Staff Writer

During the past year, the MoCo police have shown their true colors. Although not usually shown in local media stations, there are cases of police officers in Maryland using excessive force and making arrests without using the proper procedures. During the past few months there have been 2 major cases showing that this is very real in the state of Maryland as well. Baltimore police internal affairs is a perfect example of this since there have been 76 cases of police misconduct that have been let to expire since 2016. The Maryland one-year limit allows the police department to investigate these types of cases. The Baltimore police has let almost 25 cases expire each year. A video showing a man being pinned to the ground surfaced on July 3, 2019, it showed a man, Arnaldo Pesoa, having his head pinned to the concrete in front of a McDonalds down in Rockville, Maryland. There was an ongoing investigation about whether or not Pesoa was selling mushrooms to people and an officer went undercover and texted Pesoa about meeting in the McDonalds and that is when the officer told Pesoa that he was under arrest. Arnaldo Pesoa supposedly resisted arrest and in the video posted on Twitter by the user plu$xanz he was shown with a knee on his neck being held down by multiple police officers while he yelled obscenities.

According to patch.com the police officer in the video, Kevin Morris,  was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct after he “allegedly” used excessive force. In the video Morris was in fact using excessive force. The officers did have probable cause for the arrest since, Pesoa was selling illegal drugs. Even though the arrest was justified, even though he was resisting arrest, the fact of the matter is that it is not in a local police officer’s jurisdiction to choose how he should handle that situation, the police department has a certain procedure for those situations. Pesoa’s hands were cuffed behind his back and Morris, had slammed his head into the concrete because he was angry.

An arrest made in May, was because of drug possession and loitering. The woman police officer that responded had said racial slurs and she is now on desk duty. In any situation what these officers did isn’t right. According to criminal.findlaw.com, police officers are only allowed to use a certain amount of force to protect them and the arrestee.

In order for the number of these incidents to decrease, there needs to be a way to let citizens know what to do if they are ever in that situation. They need to do what the police officer says and be quiet. If the police is verbally harassing them, they shouldn’t fight back because the officer can then use that as a motive and reason. Police officers have body cameras, so if the police officer was in the wrong, they would be the one getting charged. Citizens should not run if they are in the presence of a police officer or if they are asked to stop by a police officer, they should stop. If a police officer has probable cause to search, they will search and if the person being apprehended does not fight, then there is no need for more force to be used. There should be a retraining for officers as well, because they clearly forgot what was appropriate and inappropriate to do during an arrest. We could do all of that, and have the amount of police misconduct reduce but there will always be someone who thinks that since they are law enforcement they can pick and choose who to arrest and how to do it.

Police brutality and misconduct isn’t just a problem in Maryland but it is a nationwide problem. The next generation will think that all police are bad and that is not true. No one is saying that it is true. There are good ones but the bad ones are dragging the good ones down with them. The idea of a good cop is probably somewhat of a fantasy but there really are good cops. Police do multiple good things for their communities but cases like the one of Arnaldo Pesoa, create a bad image for all police. If there were more events to bring both law enforcement and people together, maybe there would be less conflict.