A Maryland police officer accused of pouring a beer down a man’s shirt after issuing a parking citation has been charged with second-degree assault, according to prosecutors.
A Prince George’s County grand jury indicted Brentwood police officer Ilia Cole this week, prosecutors said. He was also charged with a count of misconduct in office and related charges.
The charges stem from a Feb. 15 incident in which Cole was issuing a parking citation for a van outside a home, prosecutors said. They said a man was sitting inside the vehicle with a can of open beer after returning home from work with two friends. The men had been waiting for another resident in the home to come out and move a car out of the driveway so they could park, prosecutors said.
Cole “ordered the victim and the other two passengers, all of whom were Spanish- speaking immigrants and understood limited English, out of the vehicle and eventually issued a parking violation and a citation for an open container,” according to a statement from the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.
After issuing the citations, Cole ordered the victim to pour out the beer, which the man had not begun to drink, prosecutors said. When the man refused to dump the beer, the officer opened a can of beer, “grabbed him by the shirt and poured the beer down his back,” prosecutors said.
The officer ordered him to dump the remaining beers and then poured them on the street when the victim refused, prosecutors said.
Cole had his body camera turned on while issuing the citation but later turned it off, prosecutors said.
Officers from Mount Rainier and Edmonston were assisting and reported the incident to their supervisors, prosecutors said.
“There is absolutely no excuse for this officer’s actions, and he had no right to publicly humiliate this individual,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement.
Brentwood Police Chief Robert Althoff said his department launched an investigation into the matter after receiving the allegation of misconduct in February and forwarded the case to the state’s attorney.
Cole’s police powers have been suspended, Althoff said.
Althoff called the allegations “alarming.”
“That is not who we are,” he said.
Cole, who has been with the department for about two years, could not be immediately reached.