A former Maryland Transit Administration Police officer is charged with misconduct in office and assault as prosecutors say he repeatedly punched a man and slammed him to the ground during an incident at a Baltimore Metro station last year.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the indictment at a news conference Wednesday, saying that former officer Aaron Sewell struck a man in the face several times before slamming him to the ground after a dispute over the man attempting to enter the boarding area without a shirt while Sewell was on duty.
Mosby said that Kyah Parker was at the Rogers Avenue Metro Station in Northwest Baltimore on June 20, 2020 when he was approached by Sewell, who told him he could not board a train without a shirt.
According to Mosby, Sewell blocked Parker from entering the train platform’s waiting area by positioning his body between it and Parker and placed his hands on Parker’s chest.
Parker swatted the officer’s hands away, Mosby said, and Sewell proceeded to strike Parker in the face before slamming him to the ground.
“At no time did Mr. Parker strike back at Officer Sewell while Officer Sewell continued to punch him,” Mosby said.
The state’s attorney added that there was no train at the platform that Parker could board at the time of the incident nor was there any indication that Sewell’s use of force was necessary.
“Officer Sewell were inconsistent with the MTA Use of Force policies,” Mosby said. “Officer Sewell was a sworn police officer, acting under color of his office and the assault was not accidental, consented to, nor legally justified.”
Sewell faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the charges, Mosby said.
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No attorney is listed as representing Sewell in online court records and attempts to contact him Wednesday were unsuccessful.
MTA spokeswoman Veronica Battisti said that Sewell resigned in February 2021 “in good standing” but declined to comment further on any internal investigations or findings within MTA.
“MDOT MTA will always comply with requests for information from the Baltimore City State’s [Attorney’s] Office and other law enforcement agencies,” Battisti wrote in a statement. “We are focused on community policing and treating all customers with dignity and respect.”
The indictment marks the fourth time a law enforcement officer was charged with misconduct in office over the past week.
Last week, prosecutors charged Baltimore Police Officer Maxwell Dundore and his supervisor Sgt. Brendan O’Leary with misconduct in office and other offenses as they said Dundore assaulted a 17-year-old during an arrest and threatened to choke him to death.
O’Leary is accused of filing a use of force report that “materially distorted the nature of the incident” so as to mislead investigators to believe Dundore’s actions were compliant with police policy.
On Monday, Baltimore Police Lt. Rosemary Ford was charged with misconduct in office and theft after prosecutors said she was paid for three days in 2020 when she did not work a full shift. According to court documents, Ford was seen by investigators either leaving work hours early or not reporting to work at all.