JD Howlette Law Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Prince George's County Police Department And Five Officers

By JD Howlette Law

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Maryland, March 20, 2023 - Today, JD Howlette Law announced that it filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) and five of its officers based upon reprehensible acts of racial discrimination taken against Black police officer Mohamed Magassouba, in part, for his refusal to lie to protect a White officer who assaulted a Black female civilian.

According to the complaint, Officer Magassouba is an African immigrant who was regarded as a stellar employee within the PGCPD during his first nine years on the force. However, that all changed in early 2019 when Officer Magassouba refused to lie to protect a White officer who profiled, assaulted, and arrested a Black female civilian (in front of her son). A recording of the encounter, captured by the female’s son, garnered significant public attention after it was posted to social media, a copy of which is reproduced here: https://youtu.be/gUrVvrIeQTs.

After refusing to change his witness statement to justify the White officer's use of force, the complaint alleges that the PGCPD defendants then maliciously targeted Officer Magassouba with a parade of discriminatory and retaliatory actions that persisted for more than 30 consecutive months. According to the complaint, the PGCPD ultimately terminated Officer Magassouba’s employment based upon a frivolous finding—through an unjustified investigation—that Officer Magassouba made an omission on a personal history statement he submitted to two other police departments in 2001 and 2004.

“What happened to Officer Magassouba at the PGCPD is abhorrent and repulsive,” Jordan D. Howlette, the firm's managing attorney. “He is a role model officer of color who cares deeply about the residents of his community, and he prioritizes integrity and protecting the public over institutional loyalty. Instead of awarding Officer Magassouba for refusing to lie to cover up wrongdoing committed by another White officer, the PGCPD initiated a relentless campaign of racially-charged attacks against Officer Magassouba to silence and punish him. This case is disturbing on so many different levels, and to be frank, it’s an embarrassment to those of us in Prince George’s County who know that our police department is comprised of amazing officers like Officer Magassouba. I look forward to swiftly vindicating Officer Magassouba’s rights in this matter.”

The complaint alleges violations of several different federal and state civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act.