NAACP plans protest at Monday's Laurel City Council meeting

Members of the local branch of the NAACP will join a group of Laurel residents in a protest at the Laurel City Council meeting scheduled for Monday.

NAACP Prince George's County Branch president Bob Ross said that his group and Laurel residents are protesting the treatment of citizens by Laurel Police officers.

The protest comes 22 days after members of the local branch protested outside the Laurel Police Department in the rain Aug. 20. 

Ross said participants will testify about the "harassing, inappropriate and abusive tactics citizens had endured at the hands of Laurel city police."

Ross added that he will present the council a copy of a letter from the NAACP to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division requesting an investigation of the Laurel Police Department.

At the Aug 20. demonstration, protesters were demanding that a Laurel Police officer named in a $3 million civil suit be put on administrative leave after he was seen on a local news broadcast apparently repeatedly striking a man in handcuffs in early August.

The officer, identified in court records as Pfc. Juan Diaz-Chavarria, was actually placed on administrative duty before the Aug. 20 protest, and police officials said he will remain on administrative duty until the internal investigation conducted by Laurel Police is complete.

In the civil suit, the plaintiff, identified as D'Ante Williams, 27, of Cottage City, is seeking a total of $2 million in compensatory damages from both the defendants, and an additional $1 million in punitive damages from Diaz-Chavarria.

Williams is accusing the city and Diaz-Chavarria of violating civil rights, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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