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Speak Out: How Much Force Is Too Much?

Debate over video of Laurel Police officer striking handcuffed man rages on.

Just days after a video showed a Laurel Police officer allegedly striking a handcuffed man at the Laurel Station Bar, readers continue to sound off on whether the officer went too far.

The incident, which was recorded early Sunday morning,

A spokesperson for the Laurel Police Department told Laurel Patch the incident is being reviewed by the Prince George’s State’s Attorney’s Office, in addition to an internal investigation. The officer in the video remains on duty, according to the spokesperson.

Still, news of the investigation is spurring comments from readers who have suggested that the officer be relieved of duty and even prosecuted.

“First of all let me say that I am overly thrilled that someone finally caught the illegal acts of the Laurel Police on camera,” said commenter Sarah. “I myself have witnessed such things on many occasions being a youth in this community (I'm an 18 year old female). I have had friends attacked but there is never any proof, so it’s our word against theirs, and of course anyone will believe them. I hope this officer loses his job, pension, and whatever other benefits he may have and be tried, as a regular civilian, not a cop.”

Do you think Laurel Police officer used excessive force during the Laurel Station incident? What should be done about it? Weigh in by voting in or poll.

Bob August 09, 2012 at 07:42 PM
How in the world can this question be answered logically? The investigation is NOT done, there are a few seconds of video from an incident that lasted way longer, the video does not show the face of the one being struck (was he trying to bite the officer? spit on him? WE DO NOT KNOW). Answering that it was or was not excessive force based on the limited information would be premature at best.
Hussein69 August 09, 2012 at 10:37 PM
"The officer in the video remains on duty, according to the spokesperson." This would never have happened if Valarie Cinningham had been elected, this cop should be under arrest and my tax dollars should not be paying this criminals salary! The video tape dont lie, these cops do!
Hussein69 August 09, 2012 at 10:43 PM
the man was walking to the cops car! what in the heck do you see that people with two eys cant? this is a joke, thank GOD someone finally caught these criminal cops on video! open your eyes brother the truth is in front of you!
Bob August 10, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Did YOU notice his head bobbing towards the Officer BEFORE the Officer struck him? What was HE doing? Do you have special vision that you can see? No, you and so many others wish to convict the Officer BEFORE you know the facts. Were you there to see the entire incident and not just the few second shown on TV? All I am asking for is for the facts to become known before folks LIKE YOU convict him.
copwatch 12 August 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
No excuses for this crime! I don't care if the citizen who was arrested called the cop every name in the book, you can't blame the victim here. The cop was presumably sober, on duty, getting paid. The citizen was compliant and cuffed. This cop is a disgrace and should be fired.
Joshua Garner (Editor) August 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Interesting points. Is anyone surprised that the officer involved is still working during the investigation?
Concerned Citizen of Laurel August 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM
First of all I want to thank Police Chief Richard McLaughlin and the ENTIRE LPD for a job WELL DONE on a daily basis! As for the incident in question, all I'm hearing is let's prosecute and convict the officer that was involved and not investigate the incident before making a decision based on the facts! If in so the officer is at fault, I am sure that any and all means of punishment or prosecution will be dealt with. Just because a person is in handcuffs DOES NOT mean that person isn't still trying to resist or do harm to the officer involved! As for the video, the one arrested has his head turned towards the officer and NO ONE can see what he may or may not be trying to do. If someone was trying to spit on myself, I to would do what was needed to turn his or hers head for letting the arested person go would not be an option. As for Huessin69 and Mr. Reddix, lets stop playing the RACE card! He even states now that he is "fearful" everytime he sees a cop. No doubt his only thoughts were "how much money can I get for this clip." As 4 the place itself, is a CESPOOL!
Concerned Citizen of Laurel August 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Oh you are so RIGHT! If Valarie Cinningham was elected Mayor, the LPD Station would also be in foreclosure and there would be NO police force at all!
copwatch 12 August 10, 2012 at 08:16 PM
CCOL why are you apologizing are you a cop? Here's some facts, waters wet, the son is hot,this cops a criminal. In every other case the cop would be on admin leave, only corrupt citys like laurel would keep this criminal on the job.
Prema August 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I've been a citizen of Laurel for over thirty years and I see how the Laurel cops operate. The words overly aggressive and shady come to mind. When my daughter was 14, she got into trouble and was arrested. I was called to come to the station. When I got there, I was told to go home and wait for a call. They said she was about to be interviewed and I could not be present. I told them I was going to get an attorney and I was told that she COULD NOT have one! Imagine their surprise when I came back in twenty minutes with an attorney in tow. The demeanors certainly changed then and she was allowed representation. The next day at the courthouse, I was told by more than one employee, that the Laurel cops have a reputation there for playing "fast and loose". I went back to the station for her belongings a few days later. I said to the woman,"you know, I understand that she needed to be arrested", and she finished my sentence for me. She said,"you disagree with the way she was treated". I see how they stop these kids just for walking down the street. They make them sit on the ground and empty their pockets. My daughter has been instructed that should they bother her, to dial my phone so I can hear what is happening. I have no trust in them whatsoever. It's time for things to change.
John Shay August 11, 2012 at 02:58 AM
What facts could change your mind? What if the man that was arrested called the Officer's Mom a dirty word or said he'd kill the officer or questioned the officer's sexual orientation. Or lets say he did ALL of those. Would that justify being slapped or punched? I don't think so. This cop is dirty, this police force has lost any credibility it once had. It is a joke and an embarrassment. That he is still working out there on the streets is yet another slap in the face, this time though it's a slap in the face of every taxpaying citizen of this City. Fire this cop, apologize to the community, pledge it will never happen again, and move on. Every day this officer wears a badge and gun is another day the LPD loses credibility and further insults every citizen in the community.
PositiveVoice August 12, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I love how some are trying to offer their sound logic in trying protect Pfc. J. Diaz Chavarria.This video is very damaging to the already tarnished reputation the police department has within the minority community. No matter what the suspect was doing while handcuffed, it doesn't justify being hit 3 times. Pfc. Chavarria should have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. This how most departments would have handle the situation; however, the writing is clear that Chief McLaughlin, Mayor Moe, and the city council will stand with a bad apple. The African American and Latino communities already know how the police department operates, yet no one has protested in front of the police department or the city hall. What is it going to take to get people mad enough to demand for a more diverse police force and better treatment? Yesterday it was 3 punches to the face; tomorrow it's 3 bullets to the back. Protest now while you have the attention of the media because this will soon be yesterdays news.
Bob August 13, 2012 at 01:28 PM
John - Allow me to ask a similar question to you: What will it take for you to try to keep an open mind and allow the investigation to precede prior to making a rush to judgment? If the person was trying to bite the officer, or spit on him, would you then justify the striking to get him to stop? Were you there that you KNOW, and I mean really KNOW, what happened? Or are basing your belief that this cop is dirty based on a grainy 7 second video, the statement of the guy in cuffs and your own personal bias? Why can you not give the cop the same chance to prove his innocence that you would give the guy in cuffs? Are you that closed minded?

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