A video was released of a Metropolitan Police Department police officer attacking a store employee in Northeast D.C. The employee allegedly uttered something sarcastic at the officer.
The officer, Clinton Turner, 42, was convicted of assault Wednesday in D.C. Superior court for the January 2011 incident, ABC News affiliate WJLA reports.
According to evidence gathered by the government, Turner and another officer were on duty while they were at the Downtown Locker Room store in the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue NE on Jan. 20, 2011. Turner reportedly got into an argument with one of the store employees. The employee walked away to try to avoid a fight, but Turner followed him across the store anyway.
The employee was sitting on a table by the cash register, and was not verbally or physically hostile to Turner, officials say.
"Don't let us get you locked up on your birthday," Turner reportedly kept saying.
The employee asked why he would be locked up, and Turner told the victim if he said "something else" then he would be thrown in jail. The employee sarcastically replied, "something else," according to evidence.
Turner then grabbed the clerk and started beating him, slammed him on the wall, and then took him down to the floor by grabbing his hair. According to the government's evidence, Turner ripped some the employee’s hair out and also put him in a chokehold.
Turner is set to be sentenced on Nov. 1. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to 180 days in prison and a fine of $1,000, according to the Washington Post.
"It's very unusual for a police officer to be charged when there's not substantial injuries or injures requiring hospitalization,” James Rudasill, Turner’s defense attorney, said.
“Police officers have a difficult job,” U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said in a statement. “When the few cross that line, they will be held accountable. As the judge found in this case, there was no justification for Officer Turner's actions."
Turner joined in the department in 2004 and is on non-contact status, a D.C. police spokeswoman said.