ODENTON, Md. (WJZ) — An Anne Arundel County police officer is facing suspension after a trial board found that he used excessive force during a traffic stop in 2019.
Detective Daniel Reynolds allegedly put his knee on the neck of Daniel Jarrells and slammed his head into the ground during the incident.READ MORE: Disciplinary Hearing Begins For Anne Arundel County Police Officer Accused of Kneeling on Neck of Odenton Man
Jarrells, a black resident of Odenton, filed a lawsuit in July of 2020 claiming that Reynolds kneeled on his neck and used excessive force.
— Stetson Miller (@stetsonmreports) July 15, 2021
An internal investigation was launched after the lawsuit was filed and it later recommended that Reynolds be fired. Reynolds then requested a challenge to the recommendation with the trial board.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the board, made up of three law enforcement officers from another agency, listened to testimony from witnesses, law enforcement officers, Jarrells and Reynolds. They also watched the video of the traffic stop that was recorded by a neighbor.
Jarrells said that he could not breathe and told the board that Reynolds put his knee on his neck. Reynolds said that he put his knee on Jarrells’ shoulder and stated that was part of his training.
The officer also said he pushed Jarrells’ head down to control him. His lawyer said that the video does not tell the entire story. Several activists and local leaders watched a live stream of the hearing at the county’s Western District Police Station Community Room on Telegraph Road.
“Why do we have to have his knee on his neck? Why do we have to shove his head on the ground? That’s called excessive force,” said Bishop Antonio Palmer, First Vice President of the United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County.
In addition to suspension, the board recommended that Reynolds attend anger management training.
Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders Carl Snowden says that the decision to suspend Reynolds will hurt community-police relations in Anne Arundel County.
“I think it’s going to create incredible tensions within the police and community,” said Snowden. “Because essentially what it said was while this officer was found guilty of excessive force, the only punishment he gets is maybe some time off from work and taking anger management courses. I think for the larger community they’re going to find this outrageous.”
The county’s Chief of Police Amal Awad said in a statement that she will accept the hearing board’s findings and recommendations for actions as binding.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman issued a statement after the board’s decision:
“I was disappointed that the trial board did not uphold our former Acting Police Chief’s decision to dismiss Officer Reynolds. No chief makes the decision to dismiss an officer lightly, but our department is very serious about enforcing its policies on the use of excessive force.
The Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights allows an officer to appeal under these circumstances, and this officer exercised that right. It is the obligation of our department to do even better in our de-escalation training and to prevent the use of excessive force in the future. Body cameras will help. Training will help. Allowing police chiefs to dismiss officers who do not meet department standards would help as well, and we must work toward that end.”