A Prince George's County police officer has been sentenced to 60 days of home detention Thursday for assaulting a student.
County Police Officer Charles Pickard was found guilty of second degree second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment after he struck a Suitland High School student in November 2013.
"I thought he was somebody I could run to and talk to when problems [were] going on," Reginald Jacobs, the assault victim, said.
Pickard worked as a school resource officer at Suitland High School when he approached a student in the hallway. During the incident, Pickard removed his gun belt and placed it on the floor near a crowded hallway as students were being dismissed.
“Anybody could have picked up his weapon, baton or oc spray really creating danger not only for himself but for everyone in that school,” John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s State Attorney’s Office said.
Pickard punched the student and placed him under arrest. A survelliance video in the hallway captured the entire encounter. After an internal review of Pickard’s conduct, he was brought to the State’s Attorney’s Office by Prince George’s County Police.
“While we are pleased that Officer Pickard is being held accountable for his actions, we feel that his reckless behavior... was worthy of active incarceration and we are disappointed that he will not serve jail time in this case,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.
However, the Prince George’s county courtroom was half filled with people calling him a great man and mentor.
“It was just stupid and it was something that was an aberration… I’m sure you’ll do the right thing by him," Prince George’s County Court Judge Hassan El-Amin, who was once Pickard’s next door neighbor, said.
"No one is going to argue with all the good he’s done in the community and the students he’s helped, that’s not in question. On this particular day and with this incident officer Pickard was not protecting anyone he was not helping anyone," Erzen said.
Additionally, Pickard will have to perform 100 hours of community service and three years of supervised probation. He was ordered to turn himself in and begin his home detention on July 14th.