use of force

Prince George's Officer Indicted, Accused of Assaulting Teen Boy

Officers who witnessed the incident last fall turned in Cpl. Darryl Wormuth, police say

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A Prince George’s County police officer was indicted Tuesday after allegedly assaulting a Black 17-year-old boy he took into custody last fall. 

Cpl. Darryl Wormuth was indicted on a first-degree assault charge. He also is charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office, the department said Wednesday. He was suspended without pay.

Wormuth, who has been with the department for 15 years, is accused of grabbing the handcuffed 17-year-old by the neck as he put him into a squad car.

When News4 asked what the teen had been suspected of doing, prosecutors said he is not involved in any current cases. 

Two Black officers who witnessed the incident Oct. 20 turned in Wormuth. His police powers were suspended six days later. The police department then took the case to prosecutors to consider charges.

Interim Police Chief Hector Velez and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy both praised the officers who reported alleged misconduct. 

“I support and commend the officers who stepped forward to report this incident. I encourage and expect all officers who witness any potential wrongdoing to do the same,” Velez said in a statement. 

"We have a very strong case, and that’s in large part due to the officers who came forward, and we want to thank them,” Braveboy said.

That case includes video of the alleged incident.

Police sources told News4 there was retaliation against the two Black officers who reported Wormuth. Lt. Edward Scott Finn and at least two other ranking officers are under investigation for allegedly ordering officers in the field to stop backing up the Black officers who reported Wormuth.

Finn operates a security company patrolling apartment complexes. Wormuth was one of the officers who worked part time for him.

Police sources said an investigation into Wormuth and his connection to Finn resulted in Finn's arrest last week and federal charges for tax invasion related to his security company.

Braveboy would not confirm if there are other ongoing investigations tied to Wormuth's arrest.

"If there are other investigations, we will work with the police department to conduct those investigations and take the appropriate actions at the appropriate time," she said.

After Finn's arrest, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the resignation of Mark Magaw, the public safety director who oversaw the police department, and the pending retirement of Velez. On Friday, Kathleen Mills, the former head of internal affairs, also retired.

The new police chief, Malik Aziz of Dallas, begins work May 9.

Finn retired Monday with his full benefits. Finn and Wormuth both are out on bond.

Many county officers joined the department because they want to serve their community, Braveboy said. 

“What they also understand is the law applies to everyone,” she said. 

Wormuth was assigned to the patrol bureau. In 2018 he was hailed a hero after rescuing a child from a hot car. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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