Officer Convicted In Beating Of College Park Student To Serve Home Detention

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) –A former Prince George’s County police officer finds out his punishment after a crowd scene in College Park leads to police using their night sticks.

Alex DeMetrick was in the courtroom when the officer learned his sentence for assaulting a student.

Students and police were in the streets two years ago after the University of Maryland beat Duke in basketball. Before it was over, student John McKenna was beat by Prince George’s County police officers.

Police said McKenna attacked them.

“Mr. McKenna did not have anything in his hands, did not offer any resistance, did not strike any of these officers, yet he was pummeled,” said Terrell Roberts, McKenna’s lawyer.

McKenna can be seen skipping down the street when the encounter began.

The video backed his story up, and led to the conviction of a highly decorated 22-year veteran police officer.

Found guilty of second degree assault, former officer James Harrison returned to court for sentencing on Friday morning.

McKenna spoke first, telling the judge the impacts the attack had, saying “my mother has had to watch repeatedly the video of me being beaten.“

“Mr. Harrison beat me and beat me, and when I was unconscious they beat me some more,” McKenna said.

Inside court, Harrison told the judge of the career and reputation he lost, and said “I do not agree with the verdict, but I accept it. I’d like an opportunity to move forward with my family. I ask the court to take into account my distinguished record.”

The judge did, sentencing Harrison to 30-days home detention, although prosecutors had asked for that much time in jail.

“We believe that the sentence was an appropriate sentence.  As law enforcement we cannot do our jobs unless the public trusts us, and when that trust is broke, we take it very seriously,” said PG County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.

And all parties took the students’ actions seriously, the judge saying she could not understand such inappropriate behavior.

One other officer was also tried for assault and was acquitted.

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