Prince George's County Officer Convicted of Hitting Homeless Woman

A Prince George's County police officer who pulled a homeless woman to her feet by her ears and hit her in the head has been found guilty of assault.

George Merkel was convicted Tuesday of second-degree assault.

Merkel was on patrol on Sept. 22, 2016 when officials say he saw a homeless woman sleeping on the sidewalk outside a pawn shop in Lanham. Merkel shouted multiple obscenities at her and then pulled her up and hit her in the head, two police officers who witnessed the assault testified.

"A police officer has a responsibility to help those in need, and Officer Merkel certainly did not do that in this instance. I am pleased that he has been held accountable for his actions," said Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County state’s attorney said in a statement. 

Merkel also was convicted of misconduct in office. 

He remains free on bond and will face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 5.

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