A longtime Prince George’s County, Maryland, police officer has been indicted and suspended after several of his fellow officers told supervisors they witnessed his rough treatment of a handcuffed 17-year-old.
State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and interim Police Chief Hector Velez on Wednesday said Darryl Wormuth is suspended without pay after a grand jury indicted the officer on charges of assaulting the teen after he was taken into custody on Oct. 20, 2020.
“Officer Wormuth grabbed the victim by the neck, and assaulted him, while he was in handcuffs,” Braveboy said.
Velez said the officer grabbed the young man by the neck, “walked him over to his car, and placed him in his car.”
Velez called the incident a “troubling situation.”
“This is not the type of policing that our residents expect; it’s not the type of policing they deserve, and it certainly isn’t the type of policing that we condone in the Prince George’s County Police Department,” Velez said.
Velez said the teenager wasn’t hurt. Braveboy left open the possibility that other charges could be filed.
“We are continuing to investigate the issue of injuries, as well as the entire incident that occurred,” said Braveboy.
Braveboy and Velez applauded the officers who stepped in, saying their actions led to a prompt internal affairs investigation.
“Within four work days, this officer was suspended, and within five days after that, the case was brought over to [the prosecutor’s] office. They know what they did was right, and we will stand by them; we will support them through this,” Velez said.
Braveboy elaborated on the officers’ decision to come forward with information of wrongdoing.
“We all know that historically that has been frowned upon — not just in Prince George’s, but all over the country,” Braveboy said. Officers “have been ostracized, and oftentimes not given opportunities to be promoted.”
Velez emphasized: “We do not tolerate officers being retaliated against for coming forward with information.”
While not mentioned in the livestreamed news conference, in 2018 Wormuth had been hailed as a hero — including by Gov. Larry Hogan — for rescuing a baby girl who was left in a hot car.
Wormuth, who has been a Prince George’s County officer since 2007, turned himself in Tuesday evening. He is free on a $10,000 bond, according to Braveboy’s office.