Video Backs Police Brutality Claims in Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Video obtained by ABC 7 News appears to support a University of Maryland student’s claim that he was attacked — unprovoked — by Prince George’s County police during the civil disturbance that followed the Terps’ victory over Duke last month, ABC 7’s Brad Bell reports.

In the video, John McKenna first appears skipping down the sidewalk next to Knox Road. He is singing a cheer, celebrating Maryland’s basketball win over Duke on the night of March 3, 2010.

McKenna stops when he comes face to face with a Prince George’s Maryland National Capital Park Police mounted officer. Note that McKenna actually backs away from the mounted officer.

The tape shows two police officers, on foot and in riot gear, slam McKenna into the wall.

McKenna was knocked unconscious, his attorney, Chris Griffiths said. McKenna falls to the ground, and is struck more than a dozen times by Prince George’s County police officers. Griffiths says there is only one way to characterize what happened.
“This is police brutality pure and simple,” said Griffiths, who plans to file a civil lawsuit against police on McKenna’s behalf.

Griffiths says the beating is only half the story. This is the sworn statement of charges against McKenna by the police alleges assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct. It claims McKenna “struck those officers and their horses causing minor injuries,” and that McKenna was “kicked by the horses and sustained minor injuries.” The video does not support either of the police claims.

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