SEABROOK – Following a week where Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) announced an unauthorized incentive program was being conducted in District 2, the agency was once again marred in scandals involving their officers.
On Aug. 14, PGPD officer Ian Lucas pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a sexual act in an alleged incident on Nov. 10, 2018, with a prostitute.
Four days later, a man died in police and EMS custody after he was seen walking around naked in a Bowie neighborhood.
Lucas, a five-year veteran of the agency, pled guilty in Washington D.C. District Court and admitted that he went to an ATM to get money that was used to pay for sex.
It was alleged that he was using his power as an officer to force a transgender prostitute into having sex with him. He was off-duty at the time of the incident.
A video of the alleged incident was leaked to local news outlet Fox 5, showing Lucas committed the acts inside a marked PGPD police car. A lieutenant for Metropolitan Police was also identified during the case, but no charges have been filed.
According to PGPD Spokesperson Jennifer Donelan, the department was alerted of the allegations on Nov. 10 and immediately suspended him with pay. They spoke with the alleged victims about what happened and began an investigation with the Metropolitan Police Department.
“This person came to one of our district stations, made a claim, and we immediately started our investigation at that very moment,” Donelan said. “This is another example of how Chief (Hank) Stawinski, and this agency are dedicated in making sure we are accountable and are transparent with our community.
Lucas pled guilty in a deferred sentence agreement, which means to admit guilt to a crime but have the charge withdrawn as long as no crimes were committed during the agreed upon allotted time negotiated with the District’s state’s attorney’s office.
With this option, Lucas also avoids jail time for the time being. Donelan confirmed that PGPD is continuing its administrative investigation following the plea arrangement, but no timetable was given on when the department would announce their decision in keeping Lucas on the force.
“We do have to wait for the criminal process to go through completion before we can move forward with our administrative portion of our investigation,” Donelan said.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 18, Kevin Antonio Jessie, 38, of Kings Manor Drive died in police custody after officials attempted to take him to the hospital for an evaluation.
Officials say that at 5:30 a.m., a call came in from a ride-share driver, alleging that a man, possibly under the influence “of something,” was walking around naked knocking on doors. At one house, Jessie began to engage in a conversation with the homeowner through their Ring doorbell application system but was not home at the time of the incident.
According to Stawinski, Jessie continued to talk to the homeowner until police arrived at the scene six minutes later.
“As the fire/EMS ambulance was arriving, the individual in question became agitated, and the officers became concerned for the safety of the medics,” Stawinski said. “They decided to place this individual in handcuffs because he was going to be placed in the ambulance for an evaluation.”
Once officials were able to get him the ambulance, they spoke to him for about 20 minutes and noticed his condition was getting worse before he went into medical distress. Officers removed the handcuffs, and EMS performed CPR. However, Jessie died on the scene.
Stawinski announced that a death investigation by its Special Investigations Response Team immediately began following his death and autopsy results would be released on Aug. 19. Donelan confirmed that no physical markings or bruising were found on Jessie’s body, and PGPD will wait until the toxicology reports before announcing a cause of death.
“He was described as being under the influence of something, and his behavior was definitely described as erratic,” Stawinski said. “What I would say is out of respect for the family who lost a family member, we will have an autopsy…and additional results so once we have that in hand, I think we will then be in a position to answer particular questions.”
The number of incidents involving county police officers have been steadily growing, dating back to October of 2018 when six-year police officer Ryan Macklin was arrested on multiple charges of rape, perverted practice and assault after an undocumented woman accused him of rape following an alleged attack in Langley Park.
Recently on Aug. 8, Cpl. Stephen Downey was convicted of two misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault and misconduct in office for punching a man in the face repeatedly while he was restrained in handcuffs. Stawinski publicly apologized to the victim, Andre Verdier, in a press conference following the verdict.
However, Donelan said those cases are of a “few bad apples” and not a fair reflection of the more than 2,000 members of the force. She added the department will always be forthcoming about cases involving their officers to assure the public’s trust.
“Transparency is our No. 1 priority, and we hold all our officers accountable,” Donelan said.