Teacher Arrested For Allegedly Claiming He Was An Officer Before Hitting, Pepper Spraying People At Park

(Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A public school teacher in Maryland was arrested after he allegedly posed as a police officer and then hit and pepper-sprayed multiple people, numerous sources reported.

Michael Thomas Pruden, 47, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly confronted two people March 21 at Daingerfield Island in Virginia, striking one of the victims with a stick and then pepper-spraying him, according to NBC Washington.

Pruden was arrested May 7 following descriptions of the assailant by the victims, according to NBC Washington. (RELATED: Police Arrest Teacher After Allegedly Attacking Several People At A Bar, Taking Chunk Of Woman’s Hair Out)

Pruden was an elementary school teacher at Prince George’s County Public Schools since 2014, and taught at four different schools within the district during that time, a district spokesperson told NBC Washington. He was reportedly suspended. 

Investigators believe Pruden could be behind multiple other attacks that happened at Washington, D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park over the course of several years, Fox 5 reported. The attacks were nearly identical to the March incident and included a suspect posing as a police officer before pepper-spraying or hitting victims with a flashlight.

Four attacks at Meridian Hill Park have been reported since 2018, police said, according to NBC Washington. 

In one incident, police say Pruden shined a flashlight in a victims’ eyes at Meridian Hill Park, pretended to be a police officer and then pepper-sprayed his victim.