A police officer in Maryland has been suspended after a now-viral video captured him apparently kissing a woman—before the pair climb into the back of a department cruiser, the Prince George’s County Police Department said Tuesday night.
The department’s announcement came hours after it said it would open an investigation into the video, which was posted on TikTok—and quickly accumulated more than 2 million views—early Tuesday.
The officer has been identified as Francesco Marlett, the department said.
A video posted on TikTok of a Prince George’s County Police officer has gone viral… I think I might know why 🤔 pic.twitter.com/sTX08SsNxh
— MoCo PG News (@MoCoPGNews) September 5, 2023
The video appears to show the officer embracing and kissing a woman next to his vehicle near a park. Holding the officer’s hand, the woman gets into the back of the vehicle, and he follows her inside. At least one child moves past the camera during the course of the 46-second clip.
Soon after it began to go viral, the department said it was aware of the situation. “As soon as we became aware earlier today, we opened an investigation to determine the circumstances,” it said in a tweet.
“Additional information will be released once investigated and confirmed.”
The person who allegedly filmed the video, identified as Nelson, told the Baltimore Banner that the cop and the woman stayed inside the cruiser for about 40 minutes before leaving the park separately.
“It was concerning because there’s kids around,” he said. “It just seemed off because if this is the person that you’re supposed to call for suspicious activity doing the suspicious activity, you know.”
Local station WJLA reported that this marks Marlett’s second suspension.
He was suspended for a month in May after being accused of domestic violence, returning to duty the next month.
Previously, in 2016, he was charged with child abuse after allegedly knocking a 3-year-old unconscious. Those charges were dropped and his record expunged.