Reporting Mike Hellgren
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Two police officers face a harsh reality. They could spend more than two decades behind bars, in connection to a beating at the University of Maryland College Park.
Mike Hellgren explains what those officers are saying.
Those officers are James Harrison and Reginald Baker. The Fraternal Order of Police says they have perfect records but the attorney for the student who was beaten questions why a third officer, who was also seen hitting his client with a baton on tape, has not been indicted.
Two Prince George’s County police officers face 25 years in jail for the beating of University of Maryland student Jack McKenna. He had a concussion and needed stitches.
WJZ obtained grand jury indictments for the incident that unfolded as police responded to student riots following a basketball victory against Duke last March.
“It was complete chaos,” said Taylor Hesketh, who was there. “People were trying to start fires.”
McKenna was one of several injured students. Police and prosecutors searched through hours of grainy tape and interviewed dozens of officers before bringing charges.
“At the same time, there is a process that needs to be gone through here,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
“The officers are charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and misconduct in office,” said Angela Alsobrooks, State’s Attorney.
The attorney representing Baker says his client has a distinguished record, an unblemished record, over almost 20 years of service in Prince George’s County. Before that, he was a Marine.
The Fraternal Order of Police said, “We are saddened by the indictments. Both officers have had exemplary careers, and we believe it would be irresponsible and unfair to rush to judgment. We will continue to stand with our brothers.”
“Mr. McKenna is gratified after 18 months that there is now a criminal prosecution ongoing,” said Terrell Roberts, his lawyer.
“They should go to jail. My opinion is that it was either assault with attempt to murder or assault with attempt to maim,” said McKenna’s grandfather, James McKenna.
Both local and federal prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing and they have not ruled out charges against more officers.
Police originally charged McKenna in connection with his beating but those charges were later dropped.
McKenna’s lawyer says he may bring a civil suit in connection with the beating.