Authorities announced a Montgomery County police officer will face two charges stemming from an incident in which he was shown on video slamming his knee into a suspect's head.
Officer Kevin Moris' police powers were suspended after the July 3 incident. He is now facing charges of second-degree assault and misconduct in office, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy announced Tuesday.
The video, posted on Twitter, shows the officer driving his knee into the head of a man who appears to have his hands behind his back. The man's head then slams into the ground.
"There's no justification for that," County Executive Marc Elrich said in the wake of the incident.
Acting Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said Tuesday that officers have a responsibility to the public and that he takes excessive force cases very seriously.
"... There was, in my mind, there was troubling evidence that suggested from a standpoint of us utilizing the force necessary to make that arrest, the defendant was still resisting, even though he was handcuffed. But again, I felt that the officers did have that situation under control," Jones said.
The man, 19-year-old Arnaldo Pesoa of Silver Spring, was suspected of selling psilocybin mushrooms in the Aspen Hill area, police said. He allegedly sold mushrooms to an undercover officer in a McDonald's in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center.
Pesoa resisted arrest and had to be removed from the restaurant, police said. While he was face down on the pavement outside, officers recovered suspected drugs from him. At that point, "an assault occurred," McCarthy said.
Pesoa required medical attention from injuries he sustained, McCarthy said.
Pesoa was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, attempted distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, resisting arrest and second-degree assault. He was released on $5,000 bond.
Moris is on administrative leave. Jones said Tuesday that Moris will remain on leave and no further changes regarding his police powers will be made until his case is adjudicated.
Pesoa's family would not go on camera but said they would seek justice.
Moris' first court date is scheduled for Aug. 2.
"It's a sad day when Marcus and I stand here having to charge a Montgomery County police officer," McCarthy said.
The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, he said.
It was not immediately clear whether Moris has an attorney.