Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Push Made for Stronger Laws After Rape Arrest of Prince George’s Cop

Several Prince George’s County residents and advocates are demanding a broader investigation after a county police officer was charged with raping a Latina woman during a traffic stop last week.

County Councilwoman Deni Taveras led a press conference Wednesday outside La Union Mall in Hyattsville with a simple message: “Ni Uno Más,” or “Not One More.”

“We must raise our voices together … in support of the victim and to prevent further victimization,” Taveras said alongside state officials, residents and advocates with CASA de Maryland. “In Prince George’s County, it is the right thing to do to protect the most vulnerable.”

Besides a request for the police department to investigate whether Officer Ryan Macklin assaulted anyone else, those who spoke also urged people affected in similar incidents to come forward and speak with police or CASA.

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-District 21) of College Park also mentioned the Maryland Trust Act, which sought to increase trust between police and immigrant communities to prevent authorities from asking about immigration status. The legislation was was approved last year by delegates but not by the state Senate.

There are discussions to reintroduce the bill when the Maryland General Assembly reconvenes in January. Taveras said she may introduce similar legislation next year on the county level.

“If you thought that was not an important bill, you’re mistaken,” Peña-Melnyk said. “Given how our communities are feeling, now more than ever we need protections [for] the most vulnerable.”

According to the charging documents, Macklin stopped the woman at 1 a.m. Thursday on University Boulevard in Langley Park, which is well outside his assigned patrol area. The department released a short video which shows the officer turning on the emergency lights in his marked cruiser to effect the traffic stop near a furniture business.

“During the stop, [Macklin] attempted to touch her breast … and ordered her to drive behind a nearby store,” according to the documents.

Once behind the store, Macklin sat inside the woman’s vehicle, grabbed her head and forced her to perform oral sex on him. When a friend of the woman whom she had called earlier arrived on the scene, Macklin, dressed in uniform and on duty, immediately got back inside his police cruiser and left.

About 6½ hours after the incident occurred, the woman went to a police station in Beltsville to report Macklin sexually assaulted her, according to the documents. The woman’s friend also spoke with police to corroborate what happened.

Macklin, who was suspended without pay Monday, worked for six years in the county and was assigned to the Bureau of Patrol. He faces five charges that include first- and second-degree rape, perverted sexual acts, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sexual contact.

Macklin, 29, who appeared in court Wednesday, remains in custody with a bond hearing scheduled for Oct. 26.

A few members of the department came to the press conference in Hyattsville and spoke with officials and advocates afterward.

Though a CASA representative said the accuser, who is an undocumented immigrant, believes the officer assaulted her only after seeing her driver’s license and realizing her undocumented status, police officials said there is no evidence that is the case.

“I want to stress to the community, based on our investigation, [that] this had nothing to do with immigration status,” said Assistant Police Chief Hector Velez. “When [residents] fear coming to the police, the criminals take advantage of that. We don’t need a silent community to be victimized. We are here for them.”

Authorities ask anyone with information about Macklin or other possible victims to call police at 301-772-4795, a line set up to take both English- and Spanish-speaking callers. People can also call CASA for support at 866-765-2272.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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