Two Prince George’s County Police officers were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday, February 16, 2017. The officers are charged in separate incidents.
Corporal George Merkel faces charges of misconduct in office and second degree assault. The allegation involves conduct in September of 2016 while the officer was on duty. The Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation after learning of the incident where he’s accused of striking a citizen. His police powers were suspended in October of 2016.
Corporal William Diaz faces charges including misconduct in office and obstructing and hindering a police investigation. The allegation involves conduct in February and March of 2016 while the officer was on duty. His police powers were suspended in April of 2016.
The Prince George’s County Police Department brought both of these cases to the State’s Attorney’s Office for consideration of criminal charges.
Chief Hank Stawinski issued this statement following today’s indictments:
“I am proud of the culture of accountability within the Department. I respect the courage of the officers who took responsibility for bringing these issues to the attention of the Department. Timely reporting allowed our investigators to gather and examine evidence. Delay in reporting prevents proper accountability because evidence is lost, recollections fade, and ultimately justice may be denied,” said Chief Stawinski.
Merkel joined the department in 2003 and was assigned to the Bureau of Patrol. Diaz joined in 2008 and was assigned to the Bureau of Investigation.