Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney Maria Aspiazu Comments on Sentencing of College Park Police Officer

Share Article

After assaulting a student during a riot in College Park, the officer was sentenced to 30 days of home detention.

Years after a video showing Prince George's County police officer James Harrison beating a student during a riot at the University of Maryland went viral, a final resolution has been reached in his assault case. Harrison was sentenced to 30 days of home detention, followed by 18 months of probation, according to the Washington Post. Maryland assault lawyer Maria Aspiazu comments on the sentence, and the issue of police brutality on college campuses:

"Home detention is a great alternative to incarceration for defendants who can afford the cost. In the case of officer Harrison, it was also a smart choice, as the resources needed to protect a police officer in jail would be shouldered by the state, and would be much higher than what the officer will pay the home detention provider.

"A defendant must be pre-screened by the home detention provider prior to this being a sentencing option. The provider will not accept a person who is a danger to himself or to his family, or who is a flight risk. There are also basic infrastructure requirements, such as a landline for monitoring the home confinement. Depending on the sentence handed by the judge, an individual serving a sentence of home confinement may leave the house for work and treatment purposes only. The removal of the ankle monitoring device, or the non-compliance with curfew will cause the termination of home confinement and the individual will have to go before the judge to explain and likely to be sent to jail for up to the remainder of the backup time.

"Police brutality is a serious problem in Prince George’s County. It goes mostly unreported and unchecked. Defendants roughed-up by officers rarely file a complaint with the Internal Affairs office of the police department for fear of retaliation. In most of theses cases, the officers file false charges against the victim, just like it happened in officer Harrison’s case. What caused Mr. McKenna’s charges to be dropped was the existence of a video that showed that Mr. McKenna was the victim and not the other way around. In the vast majority of cases this video does not exist or conveniently disappears.

"Explosive situations after Maryland games have plagued the College Park community for many years. The residents who are not associated with the University are weary of the property damages that often result from celebrations that get out of hand, and demand a tighter control from law enforcement. The University usually responds by stating that in most cases, the individuals involved in the property damage are not their students, but trouble-makers attracted by the opportunity to cause havoc under the cover of the crowd exiting games and the night conditions."

For more information about assault laws in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, please visit our Virginia assault lawyer and DC assault lawyer pages.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website