Philip Dupree was an officer with the Fairmount Heights Police Department. He was fired 3 times before he was hired at the local department.
By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz and Lloyd Lee
A federal grand jury indicted a former Maryland police officer on charges that he violated a man’s civil rights during a 2019 traffic stop — and lied about it.
Officer Phillip Dupree, 38, is accused of deploying pepper spray, in an unreasonable use of force, on a man he pulled over in Washington, DC, outside his jurisdiction, on the early morning hours of August 4, 2019, the Justice Department wrote in a news release Wednesday.
The officer then wrote up a probable cause statement fabricating a justification for why he used force, according to the Justice Department. He was employed at the time by the Fairmount Heights Police Department in a small Maryland town with a population of less than 2,000.
Dupree was indicted on charges of kidnapping, perjury, and misconduct in office by a Maryland grand jury in November 2021 for the same case.
The state indictment alleged that Dupree arrested Torrence Sinclair, peppered sprayed him while he was handcuffed, and waited several hours to transport him from the police department to the county jail. This violates the department’s general orders, which state “prisoners will be transported without unnecessary delay to the nearest processing facility,” according to the indictment.
Sinclair also filed a civil suit in October 2020 against Dupree and the town of Fairmount Heights. The case is ongoing.
The suit alleged that Dupree submitted charges against Sinclair “based on a fabricated rendition of facts” with “one count of resisting arrest, two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of attempted assault second degree on a law enforcement officer, one count of malicious destruction of property and one count of attempted escape second degree.”
The Prince George’s County State Attorney’s Office dropped all charges in November 2019.
Dupree is no longer with the department, Doris Sarumi, Fairmount Heights’ town manager, told Insider. Sarumi could not comment on whether Dupree was fired and for what cause because it’s a pending legal matter.
An attorney for Dupree did not respond to a request for comment.
“This officer should have never been hired by the city of Fairmount Heights,” Jonathan Y. Newton, Sinclair’s attorney, told Insider. “He is the quintessential example of a bad cop, and everybody at that department and a lot of people in the area knew he was a bad cop. He gambled on the fact that nobody would challenge him on it.”
Dupree also was fired by three other Maryland police departments, including for issues involving excessive force, before he was hired by Fairmount Heights in 2019, records showed.
He was first fired from the Capitol Heights Maryland Police Department in 2013, according to The Washington Post.
The officer was then hired by the District Heights Police Department on June 5, 2014. But in less than a year, Dupree racked up “more citizen complaints than that of any other officer” within the department and was fired in October 2015, according to a court opinion denying Dupree’s appeal to consider his termination improper.
In 2018, he was fired from Prince George’s Community College campus police force after eight months on the job, a spokesperson for the college wrote in an email to Insider. He was terminated for “performance” reasons.
While Dupree was with the Fairmount Heights Police Department, the officer was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud by the US District Court.
He and two other police officers were accused of working together in 2019 to report false thefts of their own debit cards to law enforcement in order to claim insurance money and reimbursement from several banks.
A trial for the officers was tentatively set for January 23, 2023.