MoCo cop charged with assault
A Montgomery County police officer who hit a suspect on the head with a tactical baton has been indicted on a charge of second-degree assault, the department said Friday.
The officer, three-year veteran George Saoutis, had raised suspicions after reporting the incident, but his report contained discrepancies about how the teenager's injuries occurred, according to the police.
Police were called to a building at the intersection of Evans Drive and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring on March 3 for the report of graffiti vandalism, known as "tagging," police said.
They found seven to 10 suspects running from the scene. Saoutis chased a 16-year-old, who ignored orders to stop, according to the police. Saoutis eventually took him into custody.
Medics treated the suspect for a 1-inch laceration to the top back of his head. The suspect was charged for the vandalism, police said.
Police investigated the officer's conduct and referred the matter to local prosecutors. A grand jury indicted Saoutis on the single, misdemeanor count Thursday.
Officer Saoutis remains on administrative leave and his police powers are suspended pending his trial, police said.
The case marked the second time this year that Saoutis was placed on leave following an incident on the streets.
On March 30, he and another officer tried to stop a silver Honda linked to a shoplifting at the Target store in Westfield Wheaton shopping center, police said at the time. The officer tried to stop the car, and Saoutis fired his service weapon. Police looked into why he did so, and whether the Honda driver tried to hit him with the car.
At the time, police said there was no indication the gunshots injured anyone.
-- Dan Morse
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