FAIRMOUNT HEIGHTS, Md. (AP) — A grand jury indicted Maryland police officer Philip Dupree on charges of kidnapping, perjury and misconduct in office.
The Maryland State Prosecutor's Office said Dupree, an officer from Fairmont Heights, conducted an illegal traffic stop late at night in Washington, which is outside his jurisdiction, in August 2019. Dupree then allegedly arrested the driver, sprayed him with pepper spray and then waited hours to transport him to the county jail, the indictment states according to the Washington Post.
Prosecutors also allege Dupree lied about the incident in charging documents. Dupree falsely wrote that paramedics treated Sinclair after he was pepper-sprayed, the indictment states.
Torrence Sinclair, the driver, later had all charges against him dropped. Sinclair has filed a lawsuit against Dupree and the town of Fairmont Heights.
According to the indictment, Dupree allegedly pulled over Sinclair and his sister while they were driving in the nation's capital. Dupree told dispatchers he would be taking Sinclair to a county jail at 2:16 a.m. but instead he took Sinclair to the Fairmount Heights police department where there are no holding cells. According to The Post, Dupree left Sinclair in handcuffs for hours and did not take him to the jail until 5:30 a.m.
These charges are the second time this year Dupree has been accused of committing crimes while in uniform. He's being charged with conspiracy in a separate case pending in U.S. District Court. He was indicted over the summer with five other officers who are accused of orchestrating false thefts of their own debit cards or vehicles. According to The Post, they are accused of reporting the fake crimes to authorities to collect the insurance money.
As of October, Dupree was still employed by the Fairmount Heights Police Department, The Post reported. He was previously terminated from three other Maryland police departments, including the Capitol Heights Police Department in 2013, the District Heights Police Department in 2015 and the Prince George’s Community College’s police force in late 2018, according to state records.
“He’s the quintessential example of a bad cop,” Jonathan Y. Newton, Sinclair’s attorney, told The Post. “He has gone from department to department, and it’s beyond me why anyone would hire him as a police officer.”
Dupree’s attorney did not immediately respond to The Post's requests for comment.
“Any law enforcement officer who abuses their power, and then intentionally provides false information regarding their actions, should be held accountable,” Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III said in a statement. “Our office will work to ensure individuals who abuse police powers are investigated and where appropriate, prosecuted.”