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No Justification For Beating By Police, Chief Says

6:07 PM, Apr 13, 2010   |    comments
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LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA/AP) -- Prince George's County Police Chief Roberto Hylton said he saw no justification for the beating of a University of Maryland student by officers working to clear a large, rowdy crowd of revelers after a basketball victory against Duke on March 3.

The beating of student Jack McKenna was caught on video tape and posted to YouTube in the days following the disturbance.

One officer has been suspended and Hylton says he expects two more will also be suspended once they are identified.

FBI spokesman Rich Wolf says agents are reviewing the video and the events of that night. A spokesman for the Justice Department says that after the FBI is done, the department will determine if civil rights laws were violated.

The encounter between McKenna and police was first made public when a tape was posted to YouTube and aired on 9News March 5th.  At the time, neither McKenna nor the police involved were identified.

Monday, McKenna's attorney released a new tape that shows the encounter more clearly.  The tape was released after felony charges against McKenna were dropped.

McKenna is seen approaching a line of mounted officers.  He is tackled then hit with police batons at least 12 times.  McKenna was unarmed and suffered severe bruises, a badly cut scalp and a concussion, according to his attorney.

Hylton said the first time he saw the tape was April 12, after it was released by McKenna's attorney.  He said regardless of McKenna's motions toward the horses, the beating was "not justified."

"I was very disappointed," Hylton told reporters.

Hylton said he is appealing for more videos and photos to be brought to the attention of his department.

"The conduct of all officers there that night is subject to review," he said.

Meanwhile, Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson said he is shocked by the video and declared that the conduct "will not be tolerated."

"We are not going back," Johnson vowed as he recalled a period where the police department was being federally monitored because of police misconduct complaints.

McKenna and at least one other student will be filing lawsuits according to their attorney.

In all, 28 people were arrested during the confrontation between police and revelers March 3.  There have been no official police misconduct complaints filed with the department, according to police spokesman Andy Ellis.

Written by Scott Broom

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