Montgomery County police officer to face criminal charges after violent arrest

A Montgomery County police officer faces two charges stemming from the use of force during an arrest last week at an Aspen Hill McDonald’s.

Officer Kevin Moris, who was among a group of officers conducting an investigation of suspected drug activity at the McDonald’s, has been charged with one count of second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

The charges were announced Tuesday by Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and acting Montgomery County police Chief Marcus Jones.

McCarthy said the charges came after a review of evidence, including multiple videos that showed up on social media.

When first asked what action by Moris crossed the line, from attempting to restrain a suspect to assault, Jones declined to say. But later, during the news conference, Jones said, “Officer Moris slamming the individual’s head to the pavement just gave me grave concern.”

Jones said most county police officers do exceptional work. “I have the utmost amount of confidence in our Montgomery County police officers, every single day,” he said.

But, Jones added, the current case troubled him.

Moris remains on administrative leave, and Jones said the police department’s internal investigation will be on hold pending the legal case Moris now faces.

McCarthy said it’s important that police be held accountable for their actions, but expressed real concern about the state of police-community relations in Montgomery County.

McCarthy told reporters, “We do not want to have police officers stopping to do their jobs because they’re afraid to do anything. I think we know what that ends with.”

McCarthy pointed out that the man who was being taken into custody in the case, 19-year-old Arnaldo Pesoa, was found to have drugs in his possession and faces multiple charges, including possession with intent to distribute, resisting arrest and second-degree assault.

McCarthy said Pesoa and Moris are presumed innocent pending the outcome of their respective cases.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan reported from Rockville, Maryland. 

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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