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Man Posing as Officer Attacked Gay Men in a Washington Park, Prosecutors Say

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nytimes.com

A Maryland man has been indicted on assault charges accusing him of pretending to be a police officer and spraying five men who he believed were gay with a chemical irritant at a park in Washington, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The man, Michael Thomas Pruden, 48, was arrested in Norfolk, Va., and charged with five counts of assault on federal land, one count of impersonating a U.S.

Park Police officer and a hate-crimes sentencing enhancement, which could increase his sentence if a jury finds that he targeted the men because of their sexual orientation, the Justice Department said.

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