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Jury Finds 1 Police Officer Guilty Of Second-Degree Assault In College Student’s Beating

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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ)– The jury has reached a verdict in the case of two Prince George’s County police officers accused of beating a University of Maryland student. Their decision comes after several grueling hours spent deliberating.

Monique Griego has details of the split verdict and the fate of the two officers.

The state argued the police officers used excessive force. The defense called it necessary. Jurors seemed to believe part of what both sides argued.

The video shot after a 2010 basketball game shows University of Maryland student John McKenna being hit multiple times by police officers James Harrison and Reginald Baker. Both faced second-degree assault and misconduct charges. But after several hours of deliberations, the jury announced a split verdict.

Harrison was found guilty of assault while Baker was acquitted of all charges.

In court, the state had argued the officers were abusing their power and beat on an innocent student celebrating a victory.

The defense, however, called the celebration a “riot” and called McKenna’s approach to the officers “aggressive.”

Jurors listened to four days of testimony, including to the officers who say McKenna was part of a group of students throwing bottles, setting fires and confronting police.

Jurors seemed to believe one officer was justified in his actions.

Harrison faces up to 10 years in prison for the second-degree assault conviction.

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