Irregular News and Views from the Bottom of the Criminal Justice System
April 27, 2010 by David Walsh-Little
Here is the critical question. What would have happened if a student hadn’t videotaped the incident and distributed the tape for all to see? We would have had opposing versions of the night
College students would have proclaimed that they were celebrating a basketball victory. Blocking streets would have been described as a form of harmless public partying when the police came upon them and beat them without provocation. In response, the
There would have been talk of the “official” video footage from a
In all likelihood, the mainstream media would have focused only on the conduct of the college students. Given similar rioting in the past, the arrests and prosecutions would have been lauded as finally cracking down on rowdy young people. Claims that police officers beat students unnecessarily and then creatively told lies in court documents to support prosecutions would have been dismissed as ludicrous. But that is what happened.
In the “unofficial” video a student is seen skipping along a roadside barrier when he is attacked by a group of three police officers in riot gear. The student, John McKenna, had no weapon, threw no punch, and did not take an aggressive stance. He was beaten to the ground with batons and then beaten some more. The student was then charged with the felony of assaulting a police officer. The facts, as described in the criminal complaint, are complete fiction and later dismissed once the student recorded video surfaced.
How often does this happen, when there is no video to memorialize the truth? In the
Much commentary has been made over college students acting irresponsibly by destroying public property that night in