Reporting Monique Griego
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — Two Prince George’s County police officers could face jail time for the beating of a University of Maryland student. The whole thing was caught on camera.
Monique Griego has the latest break in this developing case.
That attack happened last year when students rushed the streets of College Park following Maryland’s win over Duke. The video of the beating was seen across the country.
Blow after blow, you can see the officers hitting 21-year-old John McKenna. Now those officers face justice for the attack. Reginald Baker and James Harrison have been indicted on felony assault charges.
“These officers, like anyone else accused of a crime are presumed innocent, until they are proven guilty in a court of law,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.
It’s taken a year and a half for Alsobrooks to present the case to the grand jury. Some are wondering why it took so long.
“It’s been a long time, much longer than we expected,” she said.
Terrell Roberts, who represents McKenna, says it may have been hard to identify the officers, who were in riot gear.
“I’m sure that it’s been difficult for the prosecutors because the police officers may not be fully cooperative,” Roberts said.
Police reports claimed McKenna assaulted a police horse and received minor injuries from that horse. The video disputes that claim.
Students remember the chaos that night.
“I didn’t actually see him but seeing other people and the cops coming and all I was thinking was run, get back to my room as fast as I could,” said senior Austin Walker.
Tuesday, the police chief released a statement saying, “The Prince George’s County Police Department…is committed to constitutional, professional and ethical policing…Maintaining the trust of our community is the focus of my administration.”
The FBI helped in the investigation. John McKenna was initially charged with assault by police. Those charges have been dropped.
The officers face a maximum of 25 years behind bars on first-degree assault charges. They also face second-degree assault and misconduct in office charges.