Montgomery Co. pays $400K in settlement to man violently arrested

Montgomery County has settled a lawsuit filed by a man who was kneed in the back of the neck by a police officer during an arrest two years ago.

Arnaldo Pesoa, 21, will receive $400,000 in the settlement, according to WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington.

“Mr. Pesoa hopes this case will lead to real reform,” his attorney, Timothy Maloney, said in a statement. “No police officer should ever slam their knee onto the neck of another human being.”

The 2019 arrest outside a McDonald’s in Aspen Hill, Maryland, was caught on cellphone video and circulated on social media.

Pesoa had been lying face down on the ground when Officer Kevin Moris kneed him in the back of his head and neck, causing his face to slam into the pavement.

Moris was subsequently charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

A jury found Moris guilty of assault and acquitted him of the misconduct charge, although a judge later cleared Moris of his assault conviction by giving him “probation before judgment.”

In Maryland, under probation before judgment, an offender is able to avoid a conviction remaining on their record as long as he complies with the terms and conditions set at the end of a period of probation.

Moris was allowed to retain his position with the police department.

Pesoa filed his lawsuit in 2020, claiming the knee to his head could have caused life-threatening injuries. He said he suffered a concussion and severe bleeding as a result.

Police initially arrested Pesoa for allegedly selling psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, which are hallucinogenic drugs.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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