By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 – verbatim but abridged
A federal civil lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that a former Hyattsville police officer last year pistol-whipped a man who had advised him not to drive so fast in a residential area.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, says that Todd O. Prawdzik, who at the time was a Hyattsville officer, knocked Matthew J. Crouch unconscious. Prawdzik then charged Crouch with second-degree assault, even though Crouch, who is 32 now, never attacked or threatened the officer, according to the lawsuit.
Prawdzik and other Hyattsville officers attended a court hearing for Crouch and followed him and his relatives in an effort to intimidate Crouch, the lawsuit alleges.
Prince George’s County prosecutors later dropped the assault charge against Crouch, according to court records and William F. Hickey III, Crouch’s attorney
“It’s an egregious example of police misconduct,” Hickey said in an interview.
Efforts to reach Prawdzik were unsuccessful.