COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland has found a missing disc of surveillance video from the camera covering the area where a student was beaten by police during last month's civil disturbances, ABC 7 News has confirmed. But the formerly missing disc has a two-minute gap, officials admitted and Maryland State Police are now investigating.
The camera in question is located on Knox Road, up a hill from Route 1. It offers a clear view of the area where University of Maryland student Jack McKenna was beaten by Prince George's County police officers.
The beating was caught on tape by a private citizen and broadcast by ABC 7 News last week, prompting an investigation that led to the suspensions of four officers.
On March 9, McKenna's attorneys subpoenaed three-hour clips of surveillance video from 20 cameras. The video covered the time of the civil disturbance that followed the Terrapins' win over Duke on March 3.
Sixty hours of video was handed over to the attorneys -- except for a 90-minute disc from the camera with a view of where McKenna was beaten.
The disc covered the time from midnight to 1:30 a.m. on March 4.
University of Maryland College Park spokesman Milree Williams told ABC 7 News on Tuesday that the disc was missing, and blamed a technical error.
"The server that manages those cameras automatically overwrites at a certain point, and it just overwrote and it didn't give us a opportunity to copy this particular piece," Williams said.
But just hours later, the university said the disc had been found. The disc, however, was missing two minutes of footage, officials admitted. Details on the timeline of the gap were not immediately, nor was an explanation of how a two-minute gap could appear.
In another bizarre coincidence, the campus police official in charge of the video surveillance system, Lt. Joanne Ardovini, is married to one of the National Capital Park police mounted officers who was named in the complaint Prince George's County police filed against McKenna.
The complaint claimed McKenna had assaulted the mounted officer, John Ardovini, whose name is misspelled in the charging document. Court records and officials confirmed they are the same person, despite the misspelling.
The charges against McKenna were dropped by prosecutors last week.
In an interview before the missing disc surfaced, Williams said administrators were aware that missing video would raise additional questions about a case which already includes accusations of a police cover-up.
"We don't expect that is the case," Williams said. "We don't see any reason for that being the case, but we've asked the Maryland State Police to come in and do an investigation so we can be transparent as possible, so we can actually get to the bottom of it."
Maryland State Police are now investigating and working to determine whether it's merely coincidental that video is missing when the campus police lieutenant in charge of the video center is married to a park police mounted officer allegedly involved in the incident.
Some students fear the worse.
"There's no way that's a coincidence, that 90 minutes, that specific time in the riot was not just accidentally erased," said Maryland junior Jackie Brandt. "I'd say there was a cover-up. I hate to say that, it seems a little too much of a coincidence."
McKenna's attorneys say they have very serious concerns about how this video has been handled. They declined to comment on the matter until they see what is on the video in question, and hear directly from the university.
The University of Maryland maintains an extensive network of video cameras, covering both the campus and off-campus areas. The University of Maryland system is responsible for the video archives from the surveillance.http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0410/727719.html
For those who havnt seen the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAPwyodTkYA