A Maryland law enforcement officer’s police powers have been suspended while his department investigates whether he used excessive force during an arrest captured on video, officials said Friday.
The Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement it began investigating Officer Kevin Moris’ use of force after a video of Wednesday’s arrest began circulating on social media. The video appears to show the officer kneeing 19-year-old Arnaldo Pesoa’s head into the sidewalk outside a restaurant in a shopping center as Pesoa lies prone on his stomach. Pesoa screams as his head slams down and his mouth appears to be bleeding. The officer then lifts Pesoa’s shirt and covers his face with it.
The statement said Pesoa became “disorderly” and resisted arrest when plainclothes officers tried to detain him inside the restaurant. Pesoa was freed on $5,000 bail after his arrest on charges including drug possession, resisting arrest and second-degree assault.
The officer has been assigned to administrative duties while the department investigates. Its findings will be referred to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, the department said.
“The Montgomery County Department of Police takes all complaints or evidence of excessive force seriously,” the department’s statement says.