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From pepper-spraying one another to impersonating DEA agents, Metro Transit Police Department officers are committing a variety of indiscretions, according to a new lawsuit filed by a former Metro cop. And, as the suit alleges, if the officers are white, they can get away with it.
David V. Mann worked for Metro for 21 years, and rose to the rank of lieutenant in the police department. But his career at the transit agency came to end in 2011 when he responded to reports of someone throwing rocks at buses in Coral Hill, Md. According to the lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, Mann pepper-sprayed and hit the suspect before arresting him—-actions which earned Mann an expulsion from the department for use of excessive force.
In September 2012, Mann was charged with reckless endangerment, assault, and misconduct in office. The case is ongoing.
Mann, who is black, claims that he was fired because of his race. If a white officer had done the same, according to Mann, the punishment would have been lighter. Along the way, he’s airing the police department’s alleged dirty laundry.
According to Mann, white officers and Asian-American officers have received relatively light punishments for the following things:
Impersonating a DEA agent:
MTPD Officer N.N., a Caucasian male, was stopped by a police officer in New Jersey at which time he falsely identified himself as a DEA agent working with a drug/gun task force. He was given a suspension.
Pepper-spraying one another:
MTPD Sergeant R.N., a Caucasian male, pepper sprayed Sgt. Stokes while they were working the midnight shift. Sgt. R.N. was demoted; however, Human Resources would generally recommend termination for such workplace violence. Sgt. R.N. was promoted back to sergeant approximately six months later.
Kicking Helpless People:
MTPD Officers J. L. and Y. C., Caucasian and Asian males, kicked a handcuffed arrestee in the head while effectuating an arrest. Office Y.C. was given a 2-3 week suspension.
Throwing People Out of Wheelchairs:
TPD Officers I.B., C.C., and R.O., two of whom are Caucasian males, pulled a lady out of her wheelchair after she refused to leave the station upon being told she could not plug in her wheelchair to recharge it. The officers pulled her out of her chair, dragged her across the floor, and then lied about the incident upon questioning. They were all issued suspensions.
Lying on Top of People:
MTPD Officer A.V., a Caucasian male, was accused of inappropriate actions/conduct when he laid on top of a woman he was trying to arrest. The woman was resisting arrest and was not responding to his verbal commands. Officer A.V. was not disciplined because he was giving the woman verbal commands.
Mann’s lawsuit also mentions the infamous wheelchair beatdown video of 2011, which showed two white Metro officers tackling a disorderly man in a wheelchair. According to Mann, neither officer was ever disciplined.
Metro declined to comment on Mann’s allegations, citing the litigation.
Update, 2:40 p.m.: Updated with information about criminal case.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery.