The trial taking place in Prince George’s County of two veteran county police officers for their alleged actions against a University of Maryland student needs to be approached with caution and a careful review of the trial proceedings (“Defense: UMd. student beaten by P.G. police provoked attack,” Web, Monday).
Things are not always what they appear to be. Though police brutality should never be condoned or accepted, the general public tends to lack an understanding of what the police deal with on the street. Mounted units are frequently brought into situations where there are large congregations of people, particularly when the potential for violence exists. Horse-mounted units are effective for crowd control and maintaining calm. What is notable in the case of the University of Maryland student is that a horse became agitated, which suggests the student may have demonstrated aggressiveness or disobeyed officer commands.
While some may point to a historic record of the county police as a violent bunch, the Prince George’s County Police Department has many proud achievements. Many of the rioting students at the University of Maryland have been known historically to be violent, disruptive and destructive. When student offenders appear in court before a judge, they are usually well-dressed in tailored clothes, a far cry from their appearance and demeanor at the arrest scene.
The officers on trial are veteran and tenured cops who have a lot to lose if convicted. With any common sense, no reasonable officer would risk his livelihood or career without warranted cause, knowing he could be caught on video in this modern age. There is likely a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Hopefully, the jury will objectively weigh all the evidence thoroughly and carefully and recognize that any iota of doubt needs to result in an acquittal.
KAREN L. BUNE
Criminal justice consultant