Police officer indicted on charges of assault

Teen suspect was struck in face while in handcuffs

July 03, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer was indicted yesterday on charges that he hit a handcuffed teenager in the face with a metal baton, the city state's attorney's office announced.

Officer Gregory M. Mussmacher of the Police Department's Northwest District is charged with one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of misconduct in office, prosecutors said.

The charges stem from an incident April 27 in which Mussmacher arrested a 17-year-old boy involved in a family dispute.

Prosecutors declined to identify the teenager.

Assistant State's Attorney A. Thomas Krehely Jr. said the boy's mother called police after her son and his sister got into an argument at their Northwest Baltimore home.

The mother told officers that she wanted help but didn't want her son to be arrested.

Before Mussmacher arrived at the house, the boy left with his girlfriend, the prosecutor said, and two other officers stopped the boy while he was walking away.

Mussmacher approached as the officers were finishing talking with the boy, Krehely said.

Mussmacher is accused of confronting the boy, pushing him up against a vehicle and hitting him in the face, he said.

Mussmacher arrested the boy and charged him with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer, and took him to the Northwest District office, prosecutors said.

Mussmacher is also accused of spraying the boy with Mace and striking the boy -- who was handcuffed and shackled -- in the face and the back with his metal baton.

The boy suffered a cut on his left cheek and two fractures of his left sinus, prosecutors said. He was treated at Sinai Hospital.

The charges against the teen were dropped at the juvenile justice center because of insufficient evidence, Krehely said.

Yesterday's indictment comes after an internal police investigation.

Mussmacher declined to comment last night, saying his attorney had advised him not to discuss the case. Police spokesman Matt Jablow also declined to comment.

If convicted, the 29-year-old officer faces up to 25 years in prison on the first-degree assault charge and up to 10 years on each of the second-degree charges.

Judges determine what sentences are fair and reasonable for misconduct.

Mussmacher, who was hired in March 2000, is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 28.

He has been suspended with pay from the Police Department. Because he was charged with a felony, Mussmacher faces a hearing at which his pay may be suspended, Jablow said.

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