Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FBI launch investigation as shocking footage of police beating a student provokes outrage across the U.S.
By Paul Thompson

Brutal: John McKenna, circled, lays on the ground as the three officers stand over him in Maryland

A shocking video of police beating a student has provoked outrage across America and led to a probe by the FBI into alleged police brutality.

John McKenna is still recovering from his injuries after three officers clad in riot gear assaulted him with batons as he offered no resistance.

The 21-year-old was beaten unconscious and needed eight staples put into a gaping wound on his skull.

Unprovoked? The 21-year-old student stands in front of mounted police before he is bundled to the floor

Despite not provoking police, he was told he was arrested and told not to make a fuss about his injuries as the officers involved would have to fill out more paperwork.

The video of McKenna's beating was captured by a remote CCTV camera and has been played extensively on U.S. TV.

The FBI are also to launch an investigation into the horrific beating which U.S.

commentators said had echoes of the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in 1991.

The acquittal of the officers involved led to rioting across LA resulting in the deaths of 53 people and $1billion in damage to property.

The latest incident occurred after a basketball match between the University of Maryland and Duke University on March 3.

Riot police were out in force on the streets of Maryland after reports of trouble and on the video McKenna can be seen approaching a mounted policeman.

Unaware: The officers later filed a report claiming McKenna had suffered minor injuries thanks to the police horses

It is not known what was said, but as McKenna backs against a wall with his arms by his side three officers armed with batons and riot shields rush at the first year student.

He is knocked to the ground as the three officers run into him and proceed to rain down blows on his limp body.

McKenna was arrested and put in the back of a police van before being taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries.

His lawyer claimed that the arresting report by the officers said the student had "struck those officers and their horses, causing minor injuries".

The police statement described McKenna's injuries as minor and caused when he was "kicked by the horses".

It also claims that McKenna was inciting a crowd

Investigation: John McKenna was left unconscious with a gash in his forehead after the beating - the FBI are now investigating the incident

Chris Griffiths, McKenna's lawyer, claimed the abuse continued out of shot of the CCTV camera.

'On the way to the jail, officers removed the bandages from his head and said, "Look, if you want to go home tonight, don't complain about your injuries"', he told the U.S. TV show Good Morning America.

The charges against McKenna have since been dropped.

Prince George's County Police Chief Roberto Hylton has handed one of the officers who's been identified on the tape a paid suspension and launched an investigation into the incident.

The FBI have also launched an inquiry into the incident.
'I was outraged,' said Hylton. 'I was very disappointed at the conduct that I saw on the part of my officers on the video tape.'

Hylton said that other officers involved in the beating will likely be fired, but McKenna's family thinks the punishment for some officers should be even tougher.

In a statement the family said: 'Some of these characters ought to go to jail, some ought to 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.'

Students at the University of Maryland claimed police had been looking for trouble and picked on innocent bystanders.

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