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Officer's Conviction Overturned In UMD Beating Case

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) -- Off the hook. A judge overturns a Prince George's County police officer's conviction in the high-profile beating of a University of Maryland student. The incident was caught on video during riots in College Park.

Christie Ileto has reaction from the student who was beaten.

The images are disturbing: two Prince George's County officers taped beating then-Maryland student Jack McKenna in College Park. The incident unfolded as police responded to student riots following a 2010 basketball victory against Duke.

After the video went viral, Officer James Harrison was charged and convicted of second degree assault---a 2012 judgment that's now purged from his record.

"It sends a message [police] can pretty much do whatever they want," McKenna said.

The judge offered no explanation this week for overturning the conviction and closing the case, a move the state's attorney says invalidates the voice of the jury.

"They spoke loud and clear about the type of policing they want to have in Prince George's County and the overturn of this verdict takes their voice away," John Erzen with the state's attorney's office said.

"The criminal justice system failed Jack, no question," said Terrell Roberts, McKenna's attorney. "Justice wasn't served in Prince George's County. They just got it wrong."

Calls to Harrison's attorney went unreturned, but here's what we know: he was allowed to retire with a full pension from the police department---and could get his job back, if he wishes.

But for McKenna, there's a bigger issue.

"If they can get away with beating me up on national TV for doing nothing, it really makes me scared for what's going to happen to those people who might happen into a dark alley when the cameras aren't shining," he said.

It's something he fears won't be a concern until it happens again.

Harrison served 30 days of home detention following his conviction.

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