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'Just Give Me the Ticket'

POSTED: 12:28 PM ET, 03/ 4/2009 by Amanda Zamora

In case you missed it, the Post's Ruben Castaneda reports today on the video footage that prompted prosecutors to drop charges against a 30-year-old motorist who had been arrested for assaulting two Prince George's County, Md., police officers last October.

The two officers, John Wynkoop and Scott Wilson, were suspended with pay after an attorney for Rafael A. Rodriguez presented prosecutors with a copy of the videotape, which depicts the Oct. 19 traffic stop on Greenbelt Road. Wynkoop reportedly stopped Rodriguez for having illegal blue-tinted turn signal lights on his car. When Rodriguez questioned the citation, the situation escalated:

The tape shows Wynkoop ordering Rodriguez to turn off the car's engine and get out. Rodriguez does not immediately do so, and Wynkoop opens the door and pulls him out. Rodriguez does not appear to punch or attempt to strike either officer on the tape.
Wynkoop slams Rodriguez against the car and handcuffs one of his hands. Suddenly, Wilson pepper-sprays Rodriguez but also hits Wynkoop with the spray, and Wynkoop cries out, "I can't see, dude!"
The three men go out of camera range, then Rodriguez returns and sits down near his car while Wilson stands nearby. Seconds later, Wynkoop returns, grabs Rodriguez by the shoulders and slams him against his car. At that point, Wilson strikes Rodriguez several times in the head with his retractable police baton.
The three men go out of camera range again, and Rodriguez is heard crying, "Don't kill me!"

Wynkoop had accused Rodriguez of punching him in the stomach and assaulting both officers after being pepper-sprayed. But the video shows the officers striking a less than cooperative Rodriguez, who can be heard saying, "Just give me the ticket."

Prince George's County Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton says the incident is under investigation.

By Amanda Zamora |  March 4, 2009; 12:28 PM ET D.C. Region
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