Officer indicted for assault the focus of other investigations

A Montgomery County police officer is facing big legal problems after he's accused of assaulting a teenager. But this accusation isn't his first brush with the law.

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george saoutis
George Saoutis was indicted for assaulting a 16-year-old vandalism suspect.

Officer George Saoutis is the focus of two separate investigations. In this latest case, he is accused of assaulting a 16-year-old vandalism suspect.

Montgomery County Police detectives say that shortly before 5 p.m. on March 3, Officer George Saoutis and other officers found seven to 10 male suspects fleeing from a Montgomery College building at the intersection of Evans Drive and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Officer Saoutis started running after a 16-year-old suspect and eventually took him into custody but not without the suspect being injured.

"One of those suspects was seen to have a laceration to the back of his head," said Lucille Baur of the Montgomery County Police Department.

Montgomery County detectives say there were discrepancies in the officer's police report about how the boy's injury occurred. Further investigation determined that the injury was caused by the officer's tactical baton.

The department then passed its information to the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office to determination whether criminal charges would be sought against Officer Saoutis. Thursday afternoon, Saoutis was indicted by a grand jury on one count of misdemeanor second-degree assault.

Saoutis has been on paid administrative leave and his police powers suspended since late March after he fired his gun at a fleeing silver Honda carrying shoplifting suspects at the Westfield Wheaton Shopping Mall.

"One based on how a suspect was injured, and the other was a procedural investigation because a service weapon was fired," said Baur.

In addition to the pair of incidents in Montgomery County Officer Saoutis was also involved in a controversial case when he worked for Metro police.

He held down a woman who was seven months pregnant in 2004 after he says she was talking loudly and swearing on a cell phone. The woman faced charges but they were later dropped. The incident led to Metro police officers receiving sensitivity training.

Saoutis, who was hired by the police department in October 2007, said at his home Friday night that he believes he'll be proved innocent.

The grand jury investigation could last for weeks or months. Following that investigation there will be an internal police review.

A conviction could result in jail time of up to 10 years.

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