Officer Enters Plea in Case of Teen Hit While in Handcuffs

A Prince George's County Police officer accused of hitting a handcuffed teenager entered a plea Thursday.

On Thursday, Officer Jerry Thomas entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant maintains his or her innocence but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thomas was not charged with assault, as the victim’s mother wanted, but with one count of misconduct in office.

Recently released video from late 2012 shows Thomas, a five-year veteran of the police force, hitting a handcuffed juvenile three times. The boy’s mother claims Thomas hit her son so hard that his right eye was swollen shut.

In 2013, Prince George’s County Police’s Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation and forwarded their findings to the State’s Attorney’s Office. In November of that year, Officer Thomas’s police powers were suspended.

Najmah Rashad, the teenager’s mother, claims police purposely waited to indict Thomas so the statute of limitations would run out and Thomas would not be charged with assault.

Thomas has been placed on paid suspension and may lose his job after the police chief reviews more documents. He’ll be back in court June 22 for the sentencing phase of his trial.

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