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Video footage indicates that Charles County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Michael Rackey appears to have attempted to obscure the videocamera recording from a cruiser on the scene during an October traffic stop in Waldorf, in which Sheriff Rex Coffey can be seen pulling the driver out of his truck.
The timestamp on the video, obtained by the Maryland Independent late Friday, shows the stop occurred around 2 a.m. Oct. 25. Online court records show that around that time, Jason David Miles of La Plata, 26, was pulled over on Acton Lane near Wal-Mart on suspicion of drunken driving, speeding, reckless and negligent driving, avoiding a traffic stop initiated by officers and not having his truck’s headlights on.
In the video, Miles complains that he has sustained an injury to his eye. By that point, Rackey walks toward the cruiser with the camera and leans on the car’s hood, obscuring the camera with his body, as officers drag Miles even farther away from the truck and out of view of the camera. After about a minute and a half, Rackey is asked a question while still leaning on the cruiser in front of the camera. He gives a thumbs-up signal to someone off camera.
All charges from the traffic stop were dropped Feb. 27, according to the online records.
In the video, once the cruiser that caught the incident on camera arrives on scene, Coffey can be seen pulling a man from the vehicle. Upper Marlboro-based attorney Darrell Robinson, listed online as Miles’ attorney, confirmed that he is representing Miles in this matter and that Miles is the man in the video whom Coffey dragged from the vehicle.
Robinson said that he and his client are alleging excessive force and that further court action is forthcoming, though Robinson did not say when.
The video shows that at least four additional police cars were on the scene. The cruiser from which the footage was drawn appears not to be the vehicle Coffey and Rackey were riding in.
Once Coffey pulls Miles out of the car, the video shows, he is joined by other officers who drag Miles farther from the vehicle, where the view is slightly obscured by a utility pole. Miles can be heard arguing with the officers, while Coffey tells him, “We don’t want to hear your mouth.”
At this point, Rackey apparently acts to shield the cruiser’s camera from the action of the arrest.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Capt. Rob Cleaveland referred questions Saturday about the incident on the video to Coffey who did not immediately respond.
It was not known if any disciplinary action is being taken against Rackey or if Miles received treatment for his injury. Miles is heard on the tape asking to be taken to the hospital.
Miles declined Saturday morning to comment through his attorney.