A Prince George’s County Police officer was acquitted of assault and misconduct charges Monday that were brought against him after he hit a handcuffed arrestee in the face while transporting him to the county jail.
The July 15, 2016, incident arose after the restrained man in custody, Desmond Thompson, spit in Officer Levi Vaughn’s face while officers were trying to gain his cooperation, prompting Vaughn to use defensive hand-strike maneuvers, according to prosecutors.
Vaughn’s attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, said the 10-year veteran officer used “no more force than reasonably necessary” to stop the spitting attack and that Vaughn’s response was consistent with his training.
The charges brought against him by the State's Attorney Office led to unpaid administrative leave and an internal review, according to his lawyer.
Gordon said the charges took a toll on Vaughn professionally, emotionally and financially.
“This case was far from an excessive force case and prosecutors knew it. I truly believe this prosecution was malicious. Period,” Gordon said in a statement.