Jail for Prince George’s Co. officer who grabbed, struck handcuffed teenager

A Prince George’s County, Maryland, police officer will spend but 45 days of his five-year sentence in jail for assaulting a teenager in custody.

A judge sentenced Cpl. Darryl Wormuth Tuesday after he was convicted earlier this month of second-degree assault and misconduct while in office.

In a news release from the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, officials said that Wormuth “violently grabbed” a 17-year-old boy, who was in handcuffs, around the neck and struck him with an open hand on Oct. 20, 2020. The incident was caught on a police helicopter video.

The boy was being escorted by another officer and was described as “compliant.” He had been with his friends, playing ball and “doing nothing wrong, when Cpl. Wormuth singled him out,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said in a news conference Tuesday.

Braveboy said the case is about unnecessary force, describing how Wormuth walked up to the boy and “with his open palm, struck him on his throat.”

“It is truly worrisome when an officer, who takes an oath to protect and serve the community, commits a crime like this,” Braveboy said in a statement, while also applauding the officers who came forward and reported Wormuth’s actions and testified against him.

The victim, now 20 years old, spoke about the effect Wormuth’s actions had on him.

“I’m just glad that we got justice. He knows how it feels to be in handcuffs. He knows how it feels to be arrested,” he said.

Braveboy said that the type of damage the victim could have suffered was “unimaginable,” and the prosecution is grateful that the injuries he sustained were not permanent.

“But mentally and emotionally, this incident will stay with this young man for the rest of his life,” Braveboy said.

Wormuth has been with the police department since 2007 and is currently suspended. He was hailed as a hero in 2018 for rescuing a baby girl left in a hot car.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

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

Sign up