Police Assault Case Causes Police Response to Editorial

Assault on Students at University of Maryland after Basketball

Police assault on students generated a post on the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) blog, in which the police chief characterized a Washington Post editorial as “exaggerated and misleading.”

On March 3, 2010, Prince George’s County police officers were videotaped beating Maryland student John McKenna with batons as McKenna and others celebrated a University of Maryland basketball victory over Duke University. PGPD conducted an investigation and two officers were indicted on first- and second-degree assault charges, as well as misconduct in office offenses. One officer was convicted and served a 30-day home detention sentence. The other officer was acquitted.

Editorial Criticizes Police Handling of Student Assault Case

In its response to the Washington Post editorial, which asserted that police “got away with” beating McKenna, Chief of Police Mark A. Magaw stated on the blog that:

  • What happened to McKenna was wrong.
  • The involved officers were identified, indicted and prosecuted.
  • The PGPD has taken “unprecedented steps” to improve discipline and training oversight.
  • The PGPD has completely overhauled the strategy and training to handle civil disturbances.
  • The PGPD is working in conjunction with the University of Maryland to ensure that “the mistakes of the past” are not repeated.

What is the Definition of Assault?

Maryland separates assault in two degrees: first degree assault, which is a felony; and second degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. Assault in the second degree happens when one person physically injures another. The injuries can be minor or cause physical injury, but not serious or permanent injury.

Second-degree assault also includes causing a reasonable person to fear imminent physical harm. This means that even if you did not physically touch another person but you caused them to have a reasonable fear of being hurt by you, you could potentially be charged with assault.

Battery, which is also considered an assault crime, means unlawfully, offensively touching another person without his or her agreement. In most situations, however, assault does refer to a fight or disagreement that has turned physically violent.

Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorney Howard County, MD

A Maryland Super Lawyer, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than 30 years of trial experience to criminal defendants in Maryland. He has built an outstanding reputation with clients and colleagues.

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience in assault and other criminal cases — and track record of successful results — has earned him the recognition of his peers and clients:

  • Maryland Super Lawyer.
  • 10.0 Superb” as a litigation attorney by AVVO.
  • AV-Preeminent™*” Peer Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (25 consecutive years).
  • “Client’s Choice Award” by AVVO, based on average client reviews of 5 stars — the highest client review possible.
  • 2012 Top Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine and Martindale-Hubbell.

These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, a lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition.

Ellicott City, Maryland, Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you need top-ranked criminal defense counsel for assault charges, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith will aggressively fight to protect your constitutional rights. Call our office at 410-740-0101, or contact us online, to schedule an appointment. We represent criminal defendants in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County in Maryland.


Man Charged with High School Assault 2

Student Allegedly Assaulted

Howard County Police charged a Baltimore man with coming onto Long Reach High School in Columbia and assaulting a student. He was charged with second degree assault and disorderly conduct. An onlooker videotaped the incident and posted the video online.

What is Assault?

Under Maryland law, a second degree assault (also known as assault 2) occurs when someone places the victim in reasonable fear of an imminent harmful or offensive touching, and the actor has the present apparent ability to carry out the threat. Assault also includes the consummated act of battery, which is an intentional harmful or offensive touching. Domestic assault and domestic violence assault are two examples of assault.

Penalties for Assault

Second degree assault is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the court may impose a sentence up to 10 years imprisonment, a $10,000.00 fine, or both.

Ellicott City and Columbia Assault Lawyer

Mr. Smith is a top rated attorney and former prosecutor with more than 30 years of extensive trial experience, including assault cases. Attorney Smith has handled thousands of assault and other criminal cases in the local courts. Mr. Smith fights hard for his clients. That’s why many satisfied clients think so highly of him. Mr. Smith’s results speak for themselves.

Highly Rated Howard County Criminal Lawyer

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience — and track record of successful results in assault and other criminal cases — has earned him the recognition of his peers, with an AV® Preeminent™* Peer Review Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, and a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating. These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Attorney Smith is considered to be one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Howard County.

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith represents clients in assault and other criminal defense matters, DUI / DWI, MVA Hearings, traffic offensesdomestic violence and child abuse charges throughout Maryland, including the cities of Columbia, Clarksville, Sykesville, Fulton, Elkridge, Frederick, Mt. Airy, Ellicott City, Laurel, Westminster, and Baltimore. Lawyer Smith also provides experienced legal representation for clients in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Prince Georges (Prince George) County, Howard County and Montgomery County, MD.

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contact us online or call us at 410-740-0101. Put the skill and experience of a former prosecutor to fight for you. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.



  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101