No deal: Montgomery Co. officer ready for assault trial

A veteran Montgomery County police officer facing allegations of criminal excessive force won’t be seeking a plea deal, his lawyer said.

Officer Kevin Moris was charged after a viral video showed him kneeing a handcuffed man in the head in July.

Asked whether Moris was looking to settle the case before his five-day trial begins in Circuit Court on Dec. 9, defense attorney Morgan Leigh said no.

”There is definitely going to be a trial,” Leigh said. “There’s not going to be a resolution.”

Moris, a seven-year veteran of the county police department, faces one count each of second-degree assault and misconduct in office, according to a criminal information complaint filed in July by Montgomery County prosecutors.

Video of the incident, which occurred at an Aspen Hill McDonald’s, seems to show Moris using excessive force during an arrest of 20-year-old suspect Arnaldo Pesoa, who was charged with trying to sell psilocybin mushrooms and resisting arrest.

In a 45-second portion of the video, Pesoa appears to be handcuffed and lying on his stomach, surrounded by Moris and three other officers.

At some point, shortly after Pesoa cursed at officers, Moris drove his knee into the back of Pesoa’s neck, causing his head to slam into the pavement. Pesoa’s mouth is bloodied and he’s told to stop spitting as Moris pulls Pesoa’s T-shirt over his face.

While the defense has not said what its defense will be, they did ask for the assistance of a chemist, which is typically used to determine whether someone was high on drugs or alcohol at the time of the arrest.

Shortly after Moris’s arrest, then-acting Police Chief Marcus Jones said he was troubled by the smartphone video, which will likely be introduced as prosecution evidence during trial.

”The excessiveness of the officer, Officer Moris, actually slamming the individual’s head to the pavement — this gave me grave concern,” Jones said at a news conference with State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up