Trial underway for former Montgomery County police officer accused of assault

The trial of a former Montgomery County police officer who has been charged with assault is underway, with opening arguments heard in court on Monday.

Kevin Moris was arrested after he was recorded on cell phone video driving his knee into the back of a handcuffed suspect’s head and smashing his face into a sidewalk.

Prosecutors say Moris assaulted the suspect - an act they're describing as criminal.

Moris was not interested in a plea deal, instead opting to defend his actions in a jury trial.

The officer was undercover investigating an alleged mushroom dealer when the incident occurred.

The defense says Moris used reasonable force to defend himself after the suspect spit blood and saliva onto his shoe.

They say Moris had cause to be concerned after a similar experience in 2017 when he endured six months of testing to make sure he wasn't sick.

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Acting Chief Marcus Jones and State’s Attorney John McCarthy looked at several videos of the arrest before making the decision to charge officer Moris. 

Court documents indicate that the suspect, Arnaldo Pesoa of Silver Spring, was arrested for selling hallucinogenic mushrooms, and he resisted arrest inside the McDonalds in Aspen Hill.