FBI Question PG County Officers About College Park Student Beating
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) –A police beating caught on tape during a rowdy celebration at College Park. Three officers were suspended, but now the case isn’t closed.
Mike Hellgren has details on the federal probe.
About 150 officers were in the area of the beating, and the FBI had long been involved in the investigation but had not taken an active role in questioning until now when they began talking to about a third of those officers, wanting details about their roles that night.
The investigation into the officers who beat a University of Maryland student has taken a surprise twist after FBI agents showed up at the homes of 40 Prince George’s County officers when they got off work—a move The Fraternal Order of Police calls disappointing.
“I don’t dictate how the Federal Bureau of Investigations does their investigations. I extend the offer to them now if they would like if they would make us aware of who the officers are who they would like to speak with , we would make them available at a location that’s conducive for everybody,” said Vince Canales, Fraternal Order of Police.
The beating of student John McKenna last March drew local outrage and nationwide attention. It happened when police cracked down on students rioting after Maryland beat Duke in basketball. The victim’s grandfather pleaded for justice.
“They should go to jail. In my opinion, it was either an assault with intent to murder or an assault with intent to mame –both of which are felonies in the state of Maryland,” said the victim’s grandfather.
Prince George’s police have led their own investigation. Major Andy Ellis tells WJZ that they’ve kept the FBI informed and never expected this new round of questioning.
“The fact that the FBI did not have subpoenas or a warrant and the fact that they went to officer’s homes in the evening during dark hours is unconventional,” Ellis said.
No officers have been arrested. Three are still on paid leave as the county police investigate their actions. WJZ has learned that they are not among those questioned.
“For the most part it’s a bunch of background information,” Canales said. “ I’m not aware of them reaching out to any officers directly related to the situation itself.”
The incoming Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said today that he was not given a heads up on the FBI questioning. Baker will be replacing Jack Johnson, who was arrested last month as part of a federal investigation into corruption.
Forty-six Prince George’s County police officers now face conduct investigations for this incident as well as others.