A Maryland State trooper was charged Tuesday with punching a man in handcuffs who was in custody at the Glen Burnie barracks, the department said.
Trooper First Class Nathan Steelman, 28, was charged on a criminal summons with second-degree assault and misconduct in office. State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said in a news release that Steelman, a 5-year veteran of the agency, has been suspended with pay since the incident was reported.
On Dec. 10, a man in a car at a convenience store parking lot in Anne Arundel County allegedly flicked a lighted cigarette at Steelman, who was off duty and in plain clothes, trooper said. The cigarette hit Steelman in the chest, Shipley said.
Shipley said Steelman identified himself and an argument began between him and the other man, Chuck T. Snook Jr., 31, of Glen Burnie. Snook drove away, and Steelman got his license plate number, troopers said.
Steelman identified the driver, consulted with a supervisor and sought a warrant, which was issued, Shipley said. Snook was charged with second-degree assault, police said, and a uniformed trooper and Steelman went to Snook's home and arrested him, authorities said.
According to investigators, a witness said Steelman threatened Snook after his arrest; Snook, authorities said, passively resisted and was belligerent. Steelman told investigators that Snook threatened him and his family, Shipley said.
While Steelman was escorting Snook in the Glen Burnie Barracks, he pushed Snook, who was handcuffed, into a door and punched him several times in the torso, Shipley said. At least one other trooper saw the alleged incident and reported it, investigators said.
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The charges against Snook were later dropped.
Calls to a phone number that could be Steelman's went unanswered. Online court records do not list a lawyer for him.