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Posted at 2:08 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Police: Pr. George's cops shot BBs at evidence

By Matt Zapotosky and Mary Pat Flaherty

One had lost his police powers after he was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a 19-year-old woman whose criminal complaint he was investigating. The other turned in his gun and badge after he was accused of punching a college student outside a party in Beltsville.

As with many Prince George's County police officers accused of misdeeds, the two were assigned to work in the property warehouse while internal affairs investigators probed their cases. It didn't stop them from getting into more trouble.

Last month, Officers Matthew Inzeo, the accused texter, and Dominique Richardson, the accused puncher, were transferred to the telephone reporting unit, assigned to take reports of misdemeanor crimes for which there is no suspect information, county officials said. The reason for their move: the two were using airsoft and BB guns to shoot at boxes of seized property, they said.

"There's another investigation that's been opened, so they face further disciplinary action," said Maj. Andrew Ellis, the public affairs commander for the Prince George's department. "It's the most childish, ridiculous thing you can think of. These are supposed to be professional police officers."

Ellis said it appears that Inzeo and Richardson did not damage anything of critical evidentiary value. They were assigned to an area of the property warehouse with bulkier items and were not allowed access to any firearms or drugs, he said. Many of the projectiles they fired did not even pierce the boxes, he said. They did, however, shoot holes in the screens of a confiscated slot machine and an ADT security monitor, he said.

Inzeo and Richardson already had been placed on paid administrative duties for the previous accusations. Richardson allegedly punched a college student while he was moonlighting as a security guard at a party in Beltsville in October, and Inzeo was accused in November of sending sexually explicit text messages to a 19-year-old woman whose identity-theft complaint he was investigating. Ellis said investigators are continuing to probe those cases.

In the more recent incident, Ellis said, investigators believe the two shot the boxes in a half-hour while they were unsupervised. He said investigators are still working to document all the damage, and they have not yet interviewed Richardson or Inzeo.

Richardson and Inzeo did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Ellis said Richardson and Inzeo will face even more rigorous supervision in the telephone reporting unit. He said the allegations are not considered crimes, so the officers were put on desk duty with pay. It makes sense, even now, to have them work while their cases are being investigated.

"We have to pay these employees anyway, and so it's in the public interest to try to get some work out of them," Ellis said.

By Matt Zapotosky and Mary Pat Flaherty  | January 27, 2011; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Internal Affairs, Mary Pat Flaherty, Matt Zapotosky, Pr. George's  
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Comments

Why are these idiots still police officers?

"investigators believe the two shot the boxes in a half-hour while they were unsupervised."

So, these two idiots cannot even work without somebody watching them???

Posted by: kernunnos1367 | January 27, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow. These guys sound like kids in adult bodies. what more do they have to do to show their level of incompetence.

this is not surprising really. Many cops have personality flaws. All the guys i know that became cops were get over types in high school or they were whimps/punks looking for power. honorable is not a word that even their mothers would use for them.

this also shows the importance of this police unit.

Posted by: simplewords999 | January 27, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Are these the new recruits fresh out of elemtary school or what and to think they are still on the payroll. Why are they getting a paycheck at our tax payers expense. What is the issue do you need me to tell them they are fired or what.

Posted by: Frank60 | January 27, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"He said the allegations are not considered crimes, so the officers were put on desk duty with pay"

There you go - if it's not a crime in the PG Police force, you get to keep your job. That's some HR department you have there.

Posted by: Trout1 | January 27, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

How does someone who requires such close "supervision" become a police officer and is issued a gun?

What would happen if any other citizen if the county were destroying someone else's property by shooting at it with a BB gun? Would PG county ensure they continued to receive a paycheck if their private employer suddenly felt they weren't fit to represent their business?

Posted by: LMarie1 | January 27, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If they continue to cause trouble, they will be suspended (with pay).

Posted by: s4ce | January 27, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

WOW WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO ACTUALLY GET FIRED...

Posted by: uuu3 | January 27, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Several thoughts: (1) Just how long does it take to "investigate" someone sending a text message or throwing a punch? (2) Ok, so if we have to pay them, how about letting them pick up trash along county roads, clean bathrooms in police headquarters, wash police cars, cut grass around the hq, shovel snow around HQ?

Posted by: mailbxs | January 27, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Once again, a couple of Prince George's County officers do something beyond stupid and the rest of the police force has to take the brunt of the criticism. There are bad employees in every sector of employment, but they are fired much more easily than these two slackers. Wy...because the police unions are just like the teacher's unions. In an effort to ensure job stability and reduces abuse of the system, they end up protecting incompetence and dereliction of duty by officers who should have been fired a long time ago.

Posted by: c121cgal | January 27, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Once again, a couple of Prince George's County officers do something beyond stupid and the rest of the police force has to take the brunt of the criticism. There are bad employees in every sector of employment, but they are fired much more easily than these two slackers. Why...because the police unions are very powerful and have negotiated contracts that make it impossible to get rid of officers who should have been fired a long time ago. Competent and hard working police officers can't even speak out against their colleagues. It's just not done. Why are these contracts ratified by the county? Let's hope Mr. Baker can do something to weed out incompents in the PG County Police. Luckily there are not too many.

Posted by: c121cgal | January 27, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

PG County FOP, please don't defend these guys.

Posted by: OneHillStaffer | January 27, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh scuse me....the taxpayers are paying these two clowns' salaries. Why haven't they been fired? EEO reasons? Just asking.

Posted by: wjc1va | January 27, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

2 idiots with a badge and gun...POINT BLANK!

Posted by: dmcclure05 | January 27, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

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