U-Md. turns over video sought in case of student's beating

The Prince George's County police have dropped charges against a University of Maryland student they claimed struck mounted Park Police officers and their horses after a basketball game in March. This video, shot by another student, shows police beating the student without apparent provocation.

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By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010

University of Maryland officials produced video footage Wednesday from a school-operated camera that had been subpoenaed by attorneys for a student who was beaten by Prince George's County police, images that officials originally said they could not find.

Lawyers for the beaten student thought the footage could help fill in the blanks of what happened March 3, when U-Md. students took to the streets after the school's men's basketball team defeated Duke. More than two dozen people were arrested after confrontations with police.

The 90 minutes of footage produced Wednesday had been missing from about 60 hours of video requested by the student's lawyers.

Another video of the incident, taken by a student, shows three county police officers in riot gear beating student John J. McKenna, 21. County police charged McKenna and another student, Benjamin C. Donat, 19, with assaulting mounted officers with the Maryland-National Capital Park Police and their horses. Those charges were dropped just before the student video surfaced and was shown by news organizations around the world.

Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the campus Department of Public Safety, said officials did not intentionally try to hide the campus footage taken the evening of March 3 and early the next morning. But he said that the footage turned over Wednesday is still missing about three minutes because of a technician's error, Dillon said.

Terrell N. Roberts III, one of the lawyers representing McKenna and Donat, was not satisfied. "I was left with many questions as to why the 90 minutes was not provided to us in the first place, and I still don't understand why this three-minute gap exists," said Roberts, who attended the briefing.

The university received a subpoena from McKenna's attorneys March 9, Dillon said. Officials did not find relevant video footage until Tuesday afternoon, when a campus police lieutenant, who had requested video footage to investigate possible wrongdoing by students, looked and found that he had footage from the street where the McKenna incident occurred, Dillon said. That footage was turned over to McKenna's attorneys Wednesday.

The FBI, state's attorney's office and Prince George's police are investigating the beating. Maryland State Police, at the request of university officials, are investigating why the surveillance video was not immediately found.

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