An off-duty police officer has been accused of assaulting a fellow officer on the night of Feb. 7, according to local news sources. Washington police have reported that the 23-year-old officer has been charged with simple assault on a police officer, a misdemeanor. He has since been suspended with pay as the criminal investigation proceeds.
The details of the alleged assault were not included in the report, but it has been confirmed that the man, who was off duty at the time, was arrested along with a 27-year-old woman. Both face the same misdemeanor charge. It is unclear at this time whether the woman is in police custody.
The chief of the local force released a statement explaining that officers are held to a higher legal standard and that his department would be conducting an internal investigation into the incident. If the evidence presented in court proves the assault claim, the officer could face severe consequences. He could also be discharged from the force.
Accusing a police officer of assault, even just a misdemeanor charge, is an extremely serious allegation to make, given how strongly it can influence that officer's future career prospects and current standing on the police force. Washington authorities will have to provide compelling evidence that the man assaulted a fellow officer. The defense will focus on the particulars of the case, specifically the events leading up to the alleged incident. If mitigating circumstances influenced the officer's actions, it is possible the case might be resolved by means of a plea agreement and that the charges could be reduced or even dropped.
Source: wtop.com, "Takoma Park police officer charged with assault on D.C. officer", Mike Murillo, Feb. 8, 2016