Trial begins for MCPD officer recorded assaulting man in cuffs

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Witnesses are set to testify Tuesday

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — A Montgomery County police officer is on trial after being charged for assaulting a man in custody in July.

The assault was recorded and shared thousands of times on social media.

Officer Kevin Moris was caught on video kneeing a suspect in the back of the head on July 3 this year. He’s since been charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office, Moris plead not guilty.

“I do really think this is a moment for us to stop and say wait a minute if a police officer acts improperly they will be held accountable in Montgomery County,” said John McCarthy, Montgomery County State’s Attorney.

After a jury selection, the defense and state prosecutors gave their opening statements on the case. The county’s assistant state’s attorney Michael Aubin says the officer’s actions were viewed as a criminal act, and should be held accountable. The suspect in the video, Arnaldo Pesoa, was allegedly caught attempting to sell mushrooms at a McDonald’s in Aspen Hill.

He argues although Pesoa wasn’t compliant, the officer had no right to assault him.

However Moris’s defense attorney says the officer used a defensive tactic as Pesoa spit blood and saliva on the officer’s shoe. The attorney argued that spit could result in infectious diseases.  The defense added although Pesoa was under arrest he was not compliant, and allegedly used racial slurs against Moris

Both sides plead their cases before Judge Rupp and the jury witnesses will testify on Tuesday morning.

Moris has been with the police department since 2011 and has been a part of the special assignment team since 2014.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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