A Maryland cop who placed a gun against the head of a man because he had stepped out of an illegally parked car was convicted today.
And only because the incident was captured on video.
Prince George’s County police officer Jenchesky Santiago was found guilty of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
The man, William Cunningham, was a passenger in a car that had parked in front of his home when Santiago pulled up, accusing the driver of parking illegally.
When Cunningham stepped out of the car to enter his home, Santiago pulled out his gun and pointed it at his head and at his mouth.
According to NBC Washington:
Cellphone video played during the trial showed Santiago saying, “I dare you to f—ing fight me, son,” while pointing his service weapon at William Cunningham’s head.
Cunningham and his cousin were sitting in a car parked in front of his Bowie home in May 2014 when Santiago approached and asked why they were there. After an exchange of words, Cunningham decided to go inside, but Santiago ordered him back in the car.
A witness testified Santiago also yelled that Prince George’s County officers shoot people.
In his opening statement, Santiago’s attorney said, “I don’t believe my client is a good police officer or demonstrated good police work, but I also don’t believe he is a criminal.”
Had he not been wearing a badge, there would be no question he was a criminal, but because he managed to get through the police academy and managed to land a job as a police officer, he somehow is protected from the criminal label?
Although the incident took place last year, he is still employed by the Prince George’s County Police Department.
However, he has been on unpaid suspension, which he apparently appealing because Maryland law gives him that right, according to Chief Mark Magaw, who condemned his actions today on the department’s website.
But he will be sentenced January 8, 2016, so he does not have much time.
In 2010, 46 Prince George’s County police officers were suspended or disciplined
Santiago was hired two years later as the department tried to improve its image with the public.