Maryland Cops Beat Student, Lie in Charging Documents

Posted on April 12, 2010


More extreme reactions by Maryland law enforcement. Saturday I posted a story about an off duty or plain clothes Maryland officer who’s speeding ticket looked more like a car jacking, today I found a video showing the assault of a University of Maryland student by several county police officers in full riot gear.

The student, John McKenna, was not just peaceful and unarmed but literally skipping down the side walk singing a cheer celebrating a basketball victory on March 3rd. As he moves down the side walk two mounted officers move to block his path, forcing him to stop. McKenna can be seen backing away from the officers when two other officers, dawning full riot gear, run over to him, shove him into the wall knocking him unconscious, and than beat him several times with nightsticks. Unfortuantely, the incident gets even worse.

After the beating the police arrested McKenna and charged him with assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct (the perennial charge used when no real law has been broken). The officers claimed that McKenna:

“struck those officers and their horses causing minor injuries,” and that McKenna was “kicked by the horses and sustained minor injuries.”

It’s obvious when you watch the video that neither one of those things is true. It also should not come as a surprise that the injuries on McKenna’s body matched police batons, not horse hooves.

It also seems that the county has a history of incidents involving unnecessary force.

The Prince George’s County police department emerged from federal oversight only 14 months ago. The Justice Department had monitored the police force after numerous complaints about unnecessary force.

A new federal investigation is already under way. Looks like that didn’t take long. The video doesn’t support embedding so be sure to check it out here.

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