Reporting Derek Valcourt
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ)—The caught-on-camera beating of a college student by police continues to take center stage in a Prince George’s County courtroom.
That’s where a jury is being asked to decide if the police officers in that video crossed the line and broke the law.
Derek Valcourt explains prosecutors are calling experts to make their case.
They called a retired Maryland state trooper who says it’s pretty obvious the officers went too far. But in the end this will all come down to what the jury thinks when they look at that video.
When Maryland’s basketball team beat Duke in 2010, students celebrated with riots in the streets of College Park, forcing riot police to move in.
And in the now infamous video shot that night from an apartment window, Prince George’s County police officers Reginald Baker and James Harrison can be seen hitting college student Jack McKenna with a baton at least 12 times.
Tuesday afternoon a police use of force expert took the stand to say officers were justified in using their shield to push the student up against a wall and even justified in hitting him with a baton once in the legs in order to get him on the ground. But that expert also says the next 11 baton strikes in a matter of seconds constitutes excessive force and were not justified.
Officer Harrison could be seen walking into court with his family along with Officer Baker.
The officers originally reported the student was injured after he was kicked by a horse, but the video proved otherwise.
Defense attorneys for the two men are trying to convince jurors that McKenna was aggressive and even fought back, justifying the beating.
The two officers will get a chance to have their say. They are expected to take the stand in their own defense. That could happen sometime Wednesday.
The officers face charges of assault and misconduct in office. All charges against the arrested student were dropped.