A Baltimore police officer has been charged with assaulting a shopper for not wearing a face mask correctly

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A Baltimore police officer has been charged with assaulting a shopper for not wearing a face mask correctly
A woman wearing a mask moves her shopping cart December 3, 2020 in a Trader Joe's supermarket in New York City.Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
  • A Baltimore police officer was charged on suspicion of assault and misconduct in office after slamming a grocery store shopper improperly wearing a face-covering onto the concrete floor, according to the city of Baltimore.
  • Detective Andre Pringle, 45, is a 23-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department and was suspended with pay after the incident.
  • Following the alleged assault, the shopper received probation after pleading guilty to one count of violating orders under a state of emergency.

A Baltimore police officer is facing criminal charges on suspicion of slamming a shopper onto the concrete floor for improperly wearing a mask in April, according to a recent indictment from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

Detective Andre Pringle, 45, was charged last week with second-degree assault and misconduct in office for the act of aggression against Brandon Walker, a 25-year-old who is alleged by the city to have entered a Shoppers Supermarket grocery store with a face mask resting atop his head, but without covering his mouth or nose.

Pringle is a 23-year veteran of Baltimore's police department and has since been suspended with pay, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.

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"At all times, Officer Pringle was a sworn public officer, acting under color of his office," according to a press release from the office of the state attorney in Baltimore. "The physical assaults were not accidental, consented to, nor legally justified."

In mid-March, face masks were required to be worn in public areas and indoor buildings per orders from both the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland.

After entering the store without a face covering, court documents allege that Walker was asked by a Shoppers' manager to wear his face mask properly, but he refused. Walker was then asked again to put on a mask by store security to comply with the governor's order or leave, but Walker declined, leading the store manager to summon Pringle.

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Prosecutors allege that after Pringle told Walker to leave the store, the two began to walk to the exit as Walker screamed expletives at the detective. As the two entered the enclosed area between the two sets of automated doors, Walker then stopped walking and glared at Pringle before turning back around, leading Pringle to push Walker out of the store and then slam him onto the concrete ground, face-first.

"Detective Pringle caused physical harm to Mr. Walker," prosecutors allege. "The contact was the result of an intentional, harmful, offensive, and unwanted touching by Detective Pringle."

Walker was using a crutch and had a cast on his right foot at the time of the incident, according to the indictment.

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Walker had been charged with failure to obey, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, assault, and trespassing, but the charges were dropped in November. He received probation after pleading guilty to one count of violating orders under a state of emergency.

Detective Pringle will face no more than 10 years in prison if convicted on the assault charge. According to the Sun, he is scheduled for arraignment on April 9, 2021 in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

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