1 Prince George's Officer Indicted for Assault of Homeless Woman; 2nd Officer Indicted for Misconduct Over Prostitutes

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  • Two officers have been indicted, one for allegedly assaulting a homeless woman and the other for misconduct regarding prostitutes.

Two Prince George's County officers have been indicted in separate incidents, one for allegedly assaulting a homeless woman and the other for misconduct regarding prostitutes, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Prince Georges County Police Cpl George Merkel
Prince George's County Police Cpl. George Merkel

Prosecutors said County Police Corporal George Merkel was on patrol Sept. 22, 2016 when he saw a homeless woman sleeping on the sidewalk outside a vacant store in Lanham, Maryland.

He reported it to dispatch and approached her, at which point two other officers arrived to see Merkel yelling and shouting expletives at the woman, prosecutors said. Merkel allegedly pulled the woman to her feet by her ears and hit her on the side of her head with an open hand. The woman left, and the other two officers reported the incident.

Merkel has been indicted for second-degree assault and misconduct in office, State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Thursday.

In a separate case, Officer William Diaz -- who worked on a task force that handled prostitution -- warned a prostitute multiple times that the task force was nearby, helping her to avoid arrest.

Diaz also solicited a prostitute for sex while on duty at least twice, prosecutors said.

Diaz has been indicted for misconduct in office, obstructing and hindering a police investigation and related charges.

"It is very concerning anytime an officer who is entrusted to protect and serve the citizens of Prince George's County steps outside of their duties and betrays the public's trust," Alsobrooks said in a press release Thursday. "While these instances are troubling to all of us, I must reiterate that the vast majority of our officers carry out their duties with the highest level of integrity and professionalism."

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