Police Officer Charged After Allegedly Assaulting Man for Not Wearing Mask in Store

A Baltimore police officer is facing criminal charges after he allegedly assaulted a man who refused to wear a mask inside a grocery store.

Detective Andre Maurice Pringle was indicted on a charge of second-degree assault and a charge of misconduct in office by a Baltimore grand jury last week.

Pringle is facing up to 10 years in prison for the assault charge, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's office said on Wednesday.

The charges stem from an incident at the Shoppers Supermarket in Baltimore on April 19.

At around 3.20 p.m., 25-year-old Brandon Walker entered the store with a mask on top of his head, violating a mask mandate that was in effect at the time, prosecutors wrote in the indictment.

A store manager asked Walker, who was using a crutch and had a cast on his right foot, to put on his face mask properly, but he refused. The manager called store security, who also asked Walker to comply with mask requirements and he again refused. Then, the manager called Pringle.

Pringle, who was in full Baltimore Police Department uniform at the time, approached Walker and told him he had to leave the store, the indictment said.

Walker yelled and cursed at Pringle as the officer escorted him out of the store, prosecutors said.

While between the two sets of automated doors at the store's entry/exit, Walker had "stopped walking and glared" at Pringle, according to the indictment.

Walker then turned back around and Pringle allegedly responded by grabbing the man by his jacket and shoving him out of the store's exit.

"Once outside, Detective Pringle slammed Mr. Walker to the ground, face first, causing Mr. Walker to hit his head on the concrete," the indictment said.

"Detective Pringle then got on top of Mr. Walker and folded his left leg upward forcing Mr. Walker's left foot to his buttocks. Detective Pringle caused physical harm to Mr. Walker. The contact was the result of an intentional, harmful, offensive, and unwanted touching by Detective Pringle."

The indictment added that "at all times, Officer Pringle was a sworn public officer, acting under color of his office" and that the physical assaults were "not accidental, consented to, nor legally justified."

In a statement, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said: "This office remains committed to upholding one standard of justice regardless of who violates the law.

"This indictment alleges actions that we simply cannot tolerate or accept from those that are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of this city."

The Baltimore Sun reported that Pringle, who is a 23-year veteran of the police department, has been suspended with pay.

Meanwhile, Walker was charged with several crimes, including assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey.

The charges were dropped in November, according to the newspaper. He pleaded guilty to one count of violating orders under a state of emergency and was placed on probation.

A sign in a store window saying , "Safety First Please Wear Masks Thank You" reminding people about the requirement to wear a mask. Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images