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NAACP Files Complaint About Laurel Police With Feds

Amid claims of police brutality, civil rights group to file complaint with US Department of Justice.

The Prince George’s County Chapter of the NAACP announced it will be asking the Department of Justice to intervene in investigating the Laurel Police Department amid claims of excessive force from city residents.

Backed by more than 20 residents, the NAACP held a press conference Monday at the Laurel Municipal Center saying it asked and address claims by residents they were allegedly targeted racially by city police.

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Bob Ross, leader of the NAACP in Prince George’s, said the group would be sending a letter to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the Maryland Attorney General to investigate claims by residents.

The NAACP has been active in organizing residents since a was aired on local news outlets.

Ross contends that city police have a history of violating residents’ civil and constitutional rights of young African Americans and other minorities, adding that city police suffered from racism and bad training.

“The community is living in fear [of the Laurel Police Department],” he said. “You need to find a resolution.”

Appearing in front of the Laurel Council during a scheduled meeting, residents testified about their encounters with Laurel Police.

Aarrika Scott, 24, told the council she was snatched from her vehicle by Laurel Police during a traffic stop in July and thrown to the ground so quickly that her dress fell below her shoulders and exposed her breast.

She said she was subsequently maced by police and then held for two-days without being allowed to make a phone call to her mother.

“I’ve suffered,” she said, adding that she was charged with resisting arrest and not for a traffic violation.

Other residents said that the community shouldn’t be too quick to paint all of the Laurel Police Department as racist.

Orwin Shortt told the council the police and community need to be work together to address the issue, adding that the youth also need to be held accountable for their actions.

“We need an aggressive police department,” he said. “How can work together to know who are residents and who are criminals?”

Laurel Mayor Craig Moe told the crowd not to be quick to judge the city’s entire police department by the actions of a few, adding that the officer involved in the slapping incident had been put on administrative leave.

“We can’t take a brush and brush everybody in the same category,” he said. “I appreciate these comments—we don’t take them lightly…I think it’s important for us to work together.”

Moe said the city has been working with the police chief to form a citizen’s advisory commission to address concerns in the community.

Still, residents’ claims against city police officers continued to mount.

Laurel resident Karen Matthews said she wanted to see the Laurel Police Department dissolved and Laurel's police to be left to Prince George’s County Police.

“I’m very unhappy [with Laurel Police],” she said.  “Do we have police officers or do we have police bullies?”

John S September 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/news/community/ph-ll-council-naacp-0913-20120911,0,4647071.story The Leader story linked to above gives additional information. The Leader has been just as quick to put out stories on this as Patch. I live in Brunswick, Md. of Frederick County. WIth it being a 65 mile drive to Laurel, I wasn't able to leave in time due to unforeseen circumstances. However, I did converse with Mr. Ross very briefly on Wednesday August 22, 2012. He suggested to me (my inference here) that the standard Patch responses by him are truly in appreciation for his organization's getting a nice sampling of opinions, especially those critical of the organization. It came off as though the "Laurel Md." file reference is indicative of there being many such files maintained and that Laurel isn't being "singled out" from the standpoint of the studies referenced. I didn't take good notes as I wasn't expecting Mr. Ross to answer the phone listed for the PG Chapter of the NAACP. I did write out "National Association for the Advancement of Constitutional Principles" after asking him about the historical significance of the acronym NAACP. I don't think it would be fair for me to try to paraphrase a quote.
Joshua Garner (Editor) September 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Interesting that you called Bob Ross. Do you think the feds would get involved in this incident?
Tiger's Dad September 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
This will go nowhere. The Laurel Police do not and have never had a problem with racism and the agency has consistently been amongst the best trained police departments in the state, not just the county. The people complaining are largely unhappy because when they failed to comply with direction from police or resisted, passively or otherwise, an arrest and were then not happy with the results. Personal responsibility goes both ways and if more people respected the authority of police officers and stopped attempting to try their cases on the street instead of in court there would be fewer problems and the police and the community would get along a lot better.
Colliemom September 11, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Agree 100% with Tiger's Dad. The perps seem to think they can whatever they want, then when stopped it's suddenly racist behavior. Funny how I've been in Laurel over 25 years and have never, ever had any unpleasant encounter with the police staff. But then again, I follow the law - maybe that's the difference. Love the new definition of NAACP: very creative - but I'm thinking the home office wouldn't agree. When did "Colored People" change to "Constituional Principles"? Don't believe Mr. Ross's statements about his postings after each and every comment about how they were saved to thier files; this is plain intimidating, bullying behavior.
Bob September 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I must echo the admiration for the comments of both Tiger's Dad and Colliemom. I would still love to know what the opinion of Mr. Ross and the NAACP, reference the behavior of these poor, unfortunate victims, would be. Why do I believe that if these "victims" acted the fool the same way at one of their gatherings, these folks would be first in line to call the LPD with demands for assistance?
John S September 11, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Again I actually called PG County Chapter of the NAACP because of my own agenda. When "Bob Ross" answered, it took me by surprise so I improvised a lot. http://laurel.patch.com/articles/naacp-officials-detail-cat-and-mouse-game-with-city Above is a link to a Patch story which already tipped me off that Mr. Ross understands "cat and mouse games". So again, I hope I didn't overplay my "hand" in my own agenda game.
NeedRealNews September 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Doubtful. Take Ms. Scott for example. Born in 1987, and already has 8 DIFFERENT traffic court appearances in BOTH Howard and Prince Georges County (I guess HC is picking on her too?). If you look on case search, which I did, Ms Scott apparently has reoccurring problems with reckless driving, speeding, driving with her vehicle suspended and many other problems. Now all her court dates for traffic court indicate "suspended fail to comply" which means she either skipped all her court or just hasn't paid her fines. She comes forward now, with an agenda as a victim when she is actually probably looking for a free payday for problems she causes. Again, 20 people out of 30,000? What a joke. Why don't you look into the real motives for these poor victims?
pryor September 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Cops is corrupt up in this place black folks be warned!!! If a cop says jump, you better jump, else you get the beatdomns!!!!!!
pryor September 13, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Oh and wtf mom and dad, you think beating people is cool? Well try and beat me up for no reason and see what happens! Just. Because you get a badge. Don't. Make you right for. Beating. Kids!
Bob September 16, 2012 at 03:38 PM
So pryor, what I am reading from you posts is that you would react forcefully if some one tried to assault you, is this correct? If so, why do you have a problem with the officer reacting to being spit on by the "victim" here? I would think that you would probably react in a similar manner had some one, especially some one so much bigger than you, spit on you. Would you have stopped at one slap or would you have continued? Or are you one of these folks that find it okay to spit on the offices there to stop your ignorant behavior? If this is so, shame on you. If not, why are you not trying to stop this behavior that so many others seem to condone, including the NAACP through their minion Mr. Jones?
Francis September 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
The one thing that I know about the internet is that it has a way of bringing out closet racist. All the post that I read are from people who are judging the situation from the point of view that the person that was assaulted by Laurel police is black. I truely wish that the justice department will get involved. There will be far more than 20 people lining up to tell them their ugly experiences with the Laurel police. Hopefully the justice department will be more objective in their investigation. If they reach the conclusion that Laurel police is made up of ignorant bullies, then we can dissolve that police department.
NeedRealNews September 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Then where are the droves of people now? They don't exist! The city has more businesses and residence asking to be annexed IN because of their superior Police/fire/sanitation/ and infrastructure, than the 10 to 15 people stirring up lies for a hand out. Bring in whoever you feel you need too, LPD is a nationally accredited department with very high standards, the only dissolving will be the baseless claims the LBGC and ol Bobby Ross are making.
NeedRealNews September 16, 2012 at 09:58 PM
It's hard to read this sentence. And I believe the subject of the cell phone video is an adult? You're very confusing.
NeedRealNews September 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
It would be "cops are" not "cops is". Just saying.
SOMEONEWHOKNOWS September 17, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I agree with most comments here. You don’t live in the real world if you think the LPD would me dissolved and PG County take it over and actually do a better job, that is just crazy. The police have a right to defend themselves. Do you think they are trained to take someone's abuse? No absolutely not. If someone spit on you what would you do? Also the officer who was involved with that is a minority as well, he is NOT white. Get a clue! You have the NAACP soliciting for complaints now and LBGC stirring the pot. LBGC are doing this because they really want to deflect from all the illegal crap they do with the books and so forth and they are just plain sour. This will amount to nothing, nothing at all because there is no basis. You can’t make proof when they isn’t any. As far as the AArika Scott , at the time she was making her complaint she actually was wanted and LPD could of arrested her, but no they took the high road and let her know so she could turn herself in. I whole heartily believe she’s looking for a payday and has NO complaint at all, at least a legit one. As most of the others complaints have been soliceted and made up. I hope they people who make these false reports up are subsequently charged with a filing a false report charge. After all the LPD have to now waist a lot of resources on investigating all of these "new" allegations.
BB September 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Must be a police officer - "never had a problem..." How do you know? It's the same as the Sandusky case. A "good UPSTANDING white citizen. Perps are not discovered until "someone" brings up the crime and gives others the confidence to do so. But since this a racial "telling" or discovery you want us to shut up. My sister lived in Laurel, it's a great place. But that doesn't mean it's perfect and if a little attention has to be brought to it's door, let it be. We all need to check our "eyesight" when we only see the perp as the criminal and police officer just doing his job.
BB September 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Let your son, daughter, loved one or pet get beat up and let's see how loud you will cry "foul." I bet you won't be saying good cop then. No matter the color of the perp or the other criminal in this story, a crime is a crime. And if it was a black cop justice still needs to be served.
BB September 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Admire what? Only the people that respond behind their hoods(the blogs) come on the internet and tell their REAL feelings. And least we know.
NeedRealNews November 30, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Not surprising, no updates on this or Officer Diaz-Chavarria?!
againstpolicebrutality May 07, 2013 at 09:09 AM
I think th BIG problem is beating someone wheñ they are handcuffed. Police have no right!!!! I just witness such behavior from lpd. Oñ may 6 off 197, while passing by. Yes, i will report such behavior and we must keep pushing this issue forward. They fight forcefully wrongfully and we must fight back rightfully to ensure things likr this does not comtinue to happen.

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