Students at the University of Maryland today said you need only look at the video taken on Knox Road in March 2010 to know that indicting the two officers caught on camera swinging clubs was the right thing to do.
“Cops are not above the law,” said student Nicko Duchesne. “And you can’t just assault a kid.”
Indicted were Officers Reginald Baker and James Harrison, who are facing assault and other charges.
The injuries inflicted on then-Maryland sophomore John McKenna that night are only part of what federal civil rights investigators are continuing to explore about the events of that night.
In a sworn statement, police claimed McKenna and another student assaulted two mounted officer's horses and were injured by the horse. That was not true. Additionally, there are questions about whether a special operations commander gave an order to get rough or failed to properly supervise his officers.
Privately, several county officials have said there is no need for federal charges and the hope is they won't be filed. Police Chief Mark Magaw says he's already changed planning for riot control, including how charges are written.
“We've formalized that process,” he said. “So we won’t have that kind of issue again. Each officer deployed will have id on the helmet so there’s no problem with identification.”
Police arrested more than two dozen students who took to the streets to celebrate Maryland's 79-72 basketball win over Duke on March 3, 2010. A video, taken from a dorm room window, later surfaced showing officers in riot gear beating student McKenna with batons. Charges were later dropped against many of those arrested that night, including McKenna.
On campus, students say they hope something happens to change both the reality and perception of police brutality.
“I know a lot of students are complaining about it and feeling they can’t even turn to cops for help anymore cause they're kind of, for lack of a better word, crooked,” said Kelly Cleary.