Police Officers Accused of Beating UMD Students

By Jackie Bensen and Mark Stephens
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 7:21 PM EDT
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Police Officers Accused of Beating UMD Students

NBCWashington.com

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From Accusers to Accused

Video of a street celebration in College Park shows police beating a student after no apparent instigation.

Police Officers Accused of Beating UMD Students

Two police officers in Prince George's County are facing disciplinary action, following a probe into allegations of police brutality.
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Two police officers in Prince George's County face disciplinary action following a probe into allegations of police brutality.

"He doesn't say a word to the officers, they dont give him any orders," said attorney Christopher Griffiths, "and you can see what they do."

Griffiths claimed his client, University of Maryland student John McKenna, 22, was beaten by officers following a men's basketball game between Duke and Maryland on March 3.

Thousands of students poured into the streets in College Park to celebrate Maryland's victory. Some set fires, and police were called in to restore order. 

Twenty-three students, including McKenna and 20-year-old Ben Donat, were arrested. McKenna and Donat were charged with assaulting mounted officers, but video tells a different story.

"The charging documents are a complete fabrication," Griffiths said. "And they're fabricated for a specific purpose. They're fabricated to cover up the police misconduct."

Those charges have now been dropped.

The Prince George's County's police chief initially defended his officer's handling of the melee, but has changed his tune.

"I saw the tape. I am outraged. I'm disappointed," said Chief Roberto Hylton.

Hylton said one of the officers has been identified and will be immediately suspended. He said they're in the process of identifying the other officer, and plan to do an internal review.

The U.S. Department of Justice could also get involved.

The Prince George's County Police Department only recently finished a several years-long period of oversight by the Justice Department concerning use of force.

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