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Posted at 8:14 PM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Feds interview cops about beating

By Matt Zapotosky
Matt Zapotosky

Update, 10:28 p.m.:

Maj. Andrew Ellis, the public affairs commander for the Prince George's County police department, said agents plan to talk to up to 40 officers Thursday night and Friday morning about the beating in March of a student in College Park after a basketball game, though they have no arrest warrants or subpoenas. He said the department turned over the names of about 150 officers who were working that night to the FBI long ago, and it was not a surprise that agents would want to interview them as potential witnesses.

Ellis did say, however, that it was "unconventional" to interview so many witnesses at such a late hour without subpoenas. He said the department was notified at about 7 p.m. of the FBI's plans.

"It's not a common investigative practice," he said. "Our detectives wouldn't go out at 8, 9 o'clock at night to speak with witnesses."

The internal affairs investigation into the officers has been put on hold while the criminal investigations proceed, Ellis said.

Chief Roberto Hylton said one of his deputy chiefs informed him Thursday night that the FBI was knocking on the doors of a "large number of officers," wanting to interview them about the events that led to the March 3 beating of student John J. McKenna. He said as far as he knew, no one had been arrested, but he was still gathering information about what was happening.

It has long been known that the FBI was among those investigating the incident, but Thursday night's action shows that the case might be coming to a head. Three officers connected to the beating remain on suspension or desk duty in the police department.

By Matt Zapotosky  | December 2, 2010; 8:14 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Zapotosky, Pr. George's  
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