Jurors in the trial of two veteran Prince George’s County police officers accused of the March 2010 beating of an unarmed college student were shown two videos taken of the incident during testimony this week.
The officers standing trial, Reginald Baker and James Harrison, were two of those caught on tape beating University of Maryland student John McKenna after a basketball game. Hundreds of students were in the streets that night for a raucous celebration of a UMd victory over Duke University in men's basketball. The postgame celebrations left 28 people facing criminal charges.
One video was shot from a dorm room, according to WBAL. The video shows McKenna skipping down the sidewalk with his hands raised in celebration before stopping feet from officers on horseback. Several officers clad in riot gear corner him against a wall and strike him multiple times with batons and shields.
Prosecutor Joseph Ruddy, an assistant state's attorney, told jurors this week the officers' attack on McKenna was unprovoked, the Washington Post reports.
McKenna, then 21, had been drinking but was unarmed. He suffered a concussion and needed eight staples to close a head wound, according to the paper, and he had multiple bruises and a swollen hand.
According to the Washington Times, the defense argued the officers told McKenna to turn around, but McKenna said he never heard them say that. The defense said Baker believed "the student skipping toward him -- fists clenched and arms flailing -- was unquestionably a threat," according to the Washington Post.
WBAL reports another student, Nathan Cole, recorded video of the beating using his cell phone. That video has not been released to the public but was played for jurors.
"I lost sleep over it," Cole said at the trial. "It sickened me to see an innocent kid like that get beat to that amount of severity. I mean, to the point that there were pools of blood."
Jurors will not be able to consider McKenna's beating a first degree assault after Circuit Court Judge Beverly J. Woodard threw out that charge, ruling the McKenna's injuries did not warrant it. A felony charge of first-degree assault would have had both officers facing a maximum of 25 years in prison.
College Park Patch reports second-degree assault and misconduct charges will still be considered.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO