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Officers on trial for alleged assault

Oct. 16, 2012 at 5:25 PM

UPPER MARLBORO, Md., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Two county police officers are on trial, charged with assaulting a University of Maryland student during a celebration of a basketball victory.

Joseph Ruddy, an assistant district attorney in Prince George's County, said the attack on John McKenna was unprovoked, The Baltimore Sun reported. He mimicked the sound of a beating by striking his hand against a wooden railing.

"Did you hear that noise?" he asked the jury. "That was a baton striking John McKenna over and over and over again."

Large numbers of police, including some on horseback, were deployed on the night of the Maryland-Duke game in March 2010. Ruddy said McKenna, then a senior at the university, was simply celebrating the victory, while lawyers for Reginald Baker and James J. Harrison, both veteran Prince George's County officers, say he ran toward police with his fists up and ignored orders to stop.

William Brennan, representing Baker, told jurors the police officers delivered blows that were "lawful, justified and were not police brutality."

The officers face a possible 25 years in prison if they are convicted of first-degree assault.

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