USA: Police brutality in Prince George's County must not be tolerated

'While some reforms have been recently introduced to tackle police brutality and complaints have reportedly fallen in 2001, there remains a disturbing pattern of abuse, mainly against the county's African-American population,' the organisation added. Reports include shootings, deaths in custody from dangerous restraint holds or other use of force, and unresisting suspects being mauled by police dogs.

Cases of particular concern to the organization, highlighted in the report, include:

* The death of Prince Jones, an unarmed college student, who was shot in September 2000 after an undercover officer tailed his car for several miles, mistaking him for a black suspect involved in an earlier incident.

* The deaths of two prisoners, in March and June 2002, after they were restrained in a WRAP device (similar to a strait jacket and designed to prevent deaths from choking or asphyxia).

* The shooting of five reportedly mentally ill or disturbed people in 2001, at least one of them fatally. Although the Prince George's County Police Department has since introduced a range of non-lethal weapons - such as pepper spray and bean bag rounds - for dealing with suspects who are mentally ill or high on drugs, such devices are often not effective in such cases. In October 2001, Caesar Nathaniel Allen, a paranoid schizo

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