Montgomery County police officer indicted on second-degree assault charge
Second investigation to be made into same officer for unrelated incidents
A Montgomery County police officer was indicted by the county State's Attorney's Office on Friday for allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old Silver Spring boy with his baton after a brief foot chase in March.
At approximately 4:50 p.m. March 3, Officer George Saoutis and several other Fourth District officers responded to a building at Evans Drive and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring for reports of a graffiti-related vandalism in progress, according to county police spokeswoman Lucille Baur. The officers arrived to find seven to 10 suspects fleeing the scene, and Saoutis was one of at least two officers who gave chase, Baur said.
After repeated calls to stop were ignored by the youth, Saoutis apprehended the youth and charged him with vandalism, Baur said, adding that the boy who is not being identified because he is a juvenile was transported to a local hospital for a one-inch laceration to the top-back of his head.
"Police were contacted that same night, March 3, by the [boy's] family expressing concern for that injury and saying he intended to file that internal complaint," Baur said of the injury.
Discrepancies arose in Saoutis' report regarding the injury, but investigators in the county's Criminal Investigations Division determined it had been caused by the officer's retractable ASP baton, Baur said.
"The CID [officers] completed an investigation and then forwarded that information to the state's attorney's office for them to determine whether or not there was a basis for an indictment," Baur said.
Based on the information, the state's attorney's office moved to have Saoutis indicted by a grand jury earlier today on one charge of misdemeanor second-degree assault. No attorney information has been listed for Saoutis on online court records and the state's attorney's office could not be reached for comment.
While most complaints against police officers are handled by the department's Internal Affairs Division, the division will not conduct its own investigation until after the court case is completed, Baur said.
"That will come later," Baur said. "This was an investigation conducted by our CID, the policy is that after any criminal investigation has been completed, then an internal affairs investigation will be conducted, but I know that our Internal Affairs Division has been notified [of the incident]."
Hired by the department in October 2007, Saoutis's indictment Friday was the first of two incidents that Saoutis is being investigated for, Baur said.
Saoutis was placed on paid administrative leave with his police powers suspended March 31 after he fired his gun while chasing shoplifting suspects in the parking lot of the Westfield Wheaton Shopping Center, she said.
"Officers were attempting to stop the shoplifters from fleeing in a vehicle and Officer Saoutis fired his service weapon attempting to stop the fleeing vehicle," Baur explained. "Whenever an officer fires his service weapon other than to take down an animal that information is forwarded to the Major Crimes Division for further investigation."
Saoutis remains on paid administrative leave with his police powers revoked at this time pending the outcome of the investigations, she said.