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Charges: St. Paul officer punched handcuffed teen who spit in his face

The officer is on paid leave.

A St. Paul police officer is accused of punching a handcuffed teenager in the face after she spit on him.

Michael Soucheray II was charged Monday by the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office with fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in connection to the Dec. 1, 2016, incident. He'll make his first court appearance on March 16.

According to the criminal complaint:

Soucheray and another officer were trying to transport the possibly suicidal and agitated 14-year-old girl to a hospital, but she didn't want to go.

Officers handcuffed her and she was screaming and crying as she refused to get into the squad car. Eventually officers pulled her into the car and got her sitting up, but she resisted a seat belt.

At one point, she stood up and spit in Soucheray's face.

That's when Soucheray punched the girl in the face twice. He also grabbed the girl by the jaw-face-neck area and called her a "f------ b----."

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell released a statement regarding the charges, saying he is on paid administrative leave and there is an "open and active internal affairs investigation."

State law prevents Axtell from discussing the internal investigation further, but he said when incidents that don't meet the department's standards happen, "swift and decisive action is taken to hold ourselves accountable."

Those actions include: "internal affairs investigations, review by the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, discipline and even referring cases to outside agencies for investigation and review," the statement said.

If Soucheray is convicted, he could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, the criminal complaint says.

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