MD Officer Convicted For Putting Gun To Black Man’s Head

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Video Shows Alleged Parking Violation Escalates to a Gun Pointed at the Head of African American in Prince George’s County Maryland

Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland posted a video on its blog Wednesday, after an officer was convicted of assault for pinning his gun to a man’s head. The officer, Jenchesky Santiago, was found guilty of first and second-degree assault, misconduct in office and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.

In May of 2014, Santiago approached William Cunningham, who was sitting in a car parked in front of his cousin’s house with his cousin in the driver’s seat. Santiago told them that they had parked there illegally. Cunningham later testified in court for an investigation into Santiago’s actions that they had parked in that location on earlier occasions. According to NBC News, when Cunningham got out of the car, Santiago ordered him back in the vehicle, using his gun to stop Cunningham from going into the driver’s home.

The video, posted to a blog updated with news and information from the Prince George’s County Police Department, shows Santiago pointing his gun at Cunningham’s head as Cunningham shouts, “He put a gun to my head!” “You’re right,” Santiago responds, before shoving him and yelling at the man to “get back in the car, now.”

Cunningham stands, looking at Santiago as he holds his weapon to his forehead for nearly 10 seconds. Santiago shoves him once again, this time by his neck and says, “I dare you to f*****g fight me, son.”

Cunningham wasn’t arrested and no one was injured. The police department’s internal affairs division later launched an investigation in 2014 after learning about the officer’s actions and posted the video “as part of the department’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability,” according to its blog.

“The actions Officer Santiago chose to take that day are his alone,” Chief Mark Magaw said in a statement. “His behavior is flagrant, appalling and isolated. His actions are among the worst I’ve seen as chief of police and that will be taken into account when I make a decision about his employment.”

Santiago will be sentenced on January 8, 2016. Santiago, who had been employed by PGPD for two years, is currently suspended without pay.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    How did this blue racist thug get his position? That seems to be at least criminal negligence among those involved. After such an incident the whole police department needs to be investigated by a special prosecutor.

  • mwildfire

    I disagree–this looks like an exception, where the department acted appropriately. So many of them cover up this sort of thing and protect the cop/s involved. I do wonder about the screening process in police hiring. Seems like there are a lot more such incidents than there used to be (or is it that the advent of cellphones with cameras means we find out about more of them?) Being a cop is a fine opportunity for people eager to push others around, petty bullies–applicants with that kind of personality profile could be screened out but it looks like they usually aren’t.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    How are we going to be able to tell without the special prosecutor? People are dying all the time time from killer cops without the department ever admitting any misconduct. Police department under public microscopes are a lot less like to employ a culture of criminal cops.

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