Today, a Prince George’s County jury found Officer Juan Hernandez guilty of striking a 22-year-old man with his police cruiser during a call for a fight and armed suspect.
Officer Hernandez was found guilty of 2nd Degree Assault, but found not guilty of Misconduct in Office.
"The conduct at issue today was immediately reported by Officer Hernandez's supervisor and he was immediately suspended on the day of this incident. The process that began with our internal investigation in 2016 today resulted in a conviction of second-degree assault. As the internal investigation proceeded, our department’s investigators were immediately concerned that the conduct was criminal in nature. At that point, the case was turned over to the States Attorney’s Office who subsequently charged Officer Hernandez. I expect video of this incident to cause concern in the minds of the public just as it caused concern in my mind and those of our investigators. As always, the public can rely on me to provide the facts to them once I have them as a means to assure the public that their officers consistently conduct themselves in a manner that the community supports. Where individuals fall short of our collective expectations, I will act to protect the public and to preserve your trust in the department," said Chief Hank Stawinski.
On June 13, 2016, we received a call for an armed person and fight in the 800 block of Fairview Avenue. Once on scene, an officer witnessed three men arguing. One man indicated the other two threatened to shoot him. As the officer was checking for weapons and patting down the individuals, one ran away. Our investigation revealed as Officer Hernandez pulled up to the scene, he saw the man running and was advised by a fellow officer to pursue the man. During the pursuit, Hernandez struck the man with his cruiser. The man ran a short distance further but was apprehended and taken into custody. At that time, he indicated he was not injured and refused medical treatment.
Officer Hernandez has been employed by the PGPD for 11 years and was assigned to the Bureau of Patrol.
Now that criminal proceedings are over, the department’s administrative process can move forward.