James Harrison sentenced to one year in UMD beating case
A Prince George's County Police officer convicted in connection with the beating of University of Maryland student was given a one year sentence Friday.
The judge, however, suspended all but 30 days of the sentence and will require the officer, James Harrison, to serve the time in home detention.
Harrison was found guilty of second degree assault but was found not guilty of misconduct of office.
Another officer who was put on trial for the incident, Reginald Baker, was found not guilty of all charges.
The two officers were accused of beating up John McKenna as students celebrated the men's basketball team's victory over Duke on March 3, 2010.
McKenna, who has already collected a $2 million dollar civil settlement from police, was not happy after the hearing and declined on camera comment.
McKenna's lawyer says Harrison should go to jail.
“This just does not set an example we believe of deterrence,” says attorney Terrell Roberts.
McKenna did speak in court. He says he was being goofy as he skipped and sang that night and for that he was beaten and beaten some more. He said Maryland students wanted to celebrate a basketball win over Duke that night and the cops came looking for a fight.
Harrison and his lawyer had argued that there should be no sentence at all. Harrison, who has retired from the police department with a full pension, told the judge after 22 years as a decorated officer he is a victim of an injustice.
He offered no apology. The judge said she was giving great weight to Harrison's service and she blasted Maryland students for taking to the streets.
Prosecutors say the judge got it right.
“The home detention sends the message as well that we are unafraid to prosecute these kinds of cases,” says State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.
On campus today students say they're surprised by the light sentence.
“Hurting somebody like that - it's a not a justifiable sentence at all,” says student Adam Guteknust.
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