In 2018, Steven Alexander had completed his shift as an Embassy of Qatar special police officer. As he walked home with groceries, a Maryland police officer approached him and demanded that Alexander show his credentials. The Maryland cop had his taser drawn.
In a report from Yahoo! today (May 4), a current lawsuit states that when Alexander declined to show the Maryland cop his identification, the cop pulled out his gun and forced Alexander onto the ground. Once Alexander was on the ground, the cop pepper-sprayed him before placing him in handcuffs.
One of Alexander’s attorneys says that as a result of the incident, Alexander was terminated from his job and had to fight criminal charges — leading to years of emotional distress.
The attorneys added that their client suffers from post-traumatic stress resulting from the “life-or-death scenario.”
Alexander plans to sue the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Police as well as the police officer on the grounds that his rights were violated and excessive force was used.
“This incident really just changed the course of Steven’s entire life,” one of Alexander’s attorneys, Hannah Nallo, said.
Nallo added, “He has a very hard time talking about how the officers really almost took his life. Even though it was a few years ago, now he remembers it clear as day. When he talks to you about it is just like it just happened.”
The Maryland cop was identified as M-NCPPC Police Officer Mel Proctor.
Proctor recounted his version of events by saying Alexander was walking through a parking lot in the park with a hat that said “Special Police.” Proctor said that when he questioned Alexander about it, Alexander continued walking.
According to a police report from the incident, Proctor stated, “The subject continued to refuse my commands to stop even after I told him that he was now being detained for investigative purposes.”
Proctor claimed that he used force once he noticed that Alexander had “something around his waist with pouches,” also noting that he saw Alexander’s gun holster.
Alexander spent 10 hours in jail after being charged with resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order that a law enforcement officer made to prevent a disturbance to the public peace, and impersonating a police officer.
Nallo said after Alexander’s termination, his supervisors told him that he could return to the job once the case was resolved.
Prince George’s District Court Judge Bryon Bereano dropped all counts against Alexander that same year.
“This is questionable — at best, a lawful stop. Mr. Alexander did nothing wrong other than walking through a park after having worked a long, hard day, carrying his belongings from work and carrying his groceries, and a police officer who wasn’t following protocol only exacerbated the situation by making it worse. And that was clear from his own testimony,” Judge Bereano said in court.
Alexander is currently seeking monetary damages for the arrest and stress brought on by the incident.