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Prince George’s Police Out of Control

Many counties are plagued by clique politics. The same old faces cycle in and out of government in a pattern of cronyism and self-dealing. But if one Maryland county is on the slippery slope to Boss-Hoggdom it is Prince George’s.

When Jack Johnson was elected he came into office with a chip on his shoulder concerning the police force. If he had deliberately, I highlight the word “if” here, set about to destroy that institution his actions would be virtually indistinguishable from what we see today.

The WaPo reports that the PG police department, when not trying to cover up the gunning down of a couple of Marlo furniture deliverymen or the threatening of a lost real estate appraisal, has other problems:

Prince George’s County prosecutors were taken by surprise this spring in at least three felony cases that were underway:

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A 13-year-old girl who was asked in court to identify the man who allegedly raped her pointed to a man sitting in the spectator’s gallery — not to the University of Maryland senior who was the defendant. Charges against the student were dropped.

An assistant public defender told prosecutors that bank surveillance video of a robbery and eyewitness descriptions showed that the robber wasn’t his client. The prosecutor agreed, and during a hearing, a judge acquitted the defendant, a Hyattsville man who had spent six months in jail awaiting trial.

A Germantown man accused of abduction and rape testified during his trial that he and the alleged victim had once been engaged — a revelation to the prosecution. The jury acquitted him in less than 30 minutes.

This should terrify all of us. But never fear. PG County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey says:

“We screen cases thoroughly,” Ivey said in a statement. “We have pre-indictment review committee meetings to ensure cases with difficult legal issues are comprehensively analyzed. There are also pre-trial strategy meetings with experienced prosecutors to discuss the best approaches to use in a trial. Considering the number of cases we prosecute and the limitation of our resources, we do a remarkable job.”

Thoroughly? Approaches to be used in trying th innocent? Remarkable job at what?

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