Video exonerates innocent victim and initiates criminal charges against police
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Charges against a Maryland student were dropped yesterday after video was released showing three unprovoked police officers violently beating him to the ground with batons following a basketball game last month.
As the video reveals, John McKenna, 21, was celebrating a Maryland basketball victory on the evening of March 3rd.
As the student walks down the street close to the university’s College Park campus, he is seen waving his arms and dancing jovially. He then slows, stops and backs away upon seeing several horse mounted police ahead of him.
McKenna is then set upon and viciously slammed against a brick wall by dismounted officers in riot gear, who pummel him with batons, knocking him unconsciousaccording to his lawyer.
As a hefty officer takes a run up and delivers a forceful blow to the legs, McKenna, somehow still standing, is hacked to the ground.
The cops then continue to beat McKenna in the head and body around a dozen times in total as he lays crumpled and motionless, neither resisting nor able to defend himself.
Watch the video:
Following the incident McKenna was astoundingly charged with “felonies on suspicion of assaulting officers on horseback and their mounts”.
Papers detailing the charges, sworn by Officer Sean McAleavey, state that McKenna and another man, Benjamin C. Donat, aged 19, “struck those officers and their horses causing minor injuries,” and that the horses retaliated and injured McKenna and Donat.
The documents state that the two men were running and screaming in the middle of the road, encouraging an unruly crowd to form.
Prosecutors dropped the charges upon seeing the video of the incident, which was shot by another student. It was discovered by a private investigator working on behalf of McKenna and a codefendant who was also charged with assault against police.
The video clearly shows McKenna was around six feet away from the officers on horseback and did nothing to threaten them or provoke retaliation. It also clearly shows that Donat was not even involved in the incident, despite the officer’s charging claims.
As reported by the Washington Post, Prince George’s prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation of the three police officers seen initiating the violence, as well as Officer McAleavey.
One officer has been suspended, with all three likely to be fired once they have all been identified. Federal investigators will also be looking at the tape to determine if civil rights violations occurred.
The McKenna family is looking into filing a criminal or civil lawsuit.
“The video shows the charging documents were nothing more than a cover, a fairy tale they made up to cover for the officers’ misconduct,” said Christopher A. Griffiths, a lawyer for the student. “The video shows gratuitous violence against a defenseless individual.”
“Some of these characters ought to go to jail,” McKenna’s family said in a statement to ABC News. “Some ought to merely be booted off the force, and the remainder should be properly trained to discover that force is not always necessary, and brutality is always wrong.”
Witnesses have said that they saw several more incidences of police brutality on the night.
John McKenna suffered multiple contusions all over his body and a gash to his skull requiring several staples.
McKenna is lucky he didn’t get shot in the face and killed for celebrating the sporting victory, as tragically happened to 21-year-old Red Sox fan Victoria Snelgrove in 2004.
Over recent years we have documented countless incidents of this type. Once only has to take a look through our archives to note that attacks like this are happening everyday.
American cops used to be the most respected in the world. Now they behave more like imperial jackbooted thugs worthy of a third world dictatorship like Nepal or Zimbabwe.
As the case of John McKenna highlights, our greatest and perhaps only protection remaining against such brutal police state thuggary is the video camera.
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 10:56 am