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Remember Jack McKenna? The 21-year-old University of Maryland student whose videotaped post-game pummeling by riot police in March sparked local outrage and generated national headlines?
Turns out, McKenna, seen here pumping his fists and skipping in the direction of cops on horseback just prior to the beatdown, was singing another school’s fight song at the time.
“Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,” McKenna can be heard chanting on a cellphone video recording of the incident, according to lawyers preparing his forthcoming lawsuit against the Prince George’s County Police Department. (Prior video footage contained unclear audio.)
McKenna and other students had taken to the streets that night in celebration of the Terapins’ stunning upset of college basketball powerhouse Duke. (The University of Notre Dame had no apparent involvement in the game or the ensuing ruckus.)
One of McKenna’s lawyers, Terrell Roberts, tells City Desk that the new audio component will prove that his client wasn’t saying anything disrespectful before he was pushed against the wall and “just brutally, savagely struck multiple times.”
Prosecutors had initially charged McKenna with assaulting the cops and their horses. Those charges were dropped after video surfaced indicating the opposite. Officers involved in the incident were suspended as a result of the video. The FBI was called in to investigate.
Could the cops have misinterpreted McKenna’s singing “shake down the thunder from the sky” as a threat? Full lyrics after the jump:
Rally sons of Notre Dame,
Sing her glory, and sound her fame
Raise her Gold and Blue,
And cheer with voices true,
Rah! Rah! For Notre Dame.
Strong of heart and true to her name.
We will ne’er forget her
And we’ll cheer her ever,
Loyal to Notre Dame.
Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send the volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky,
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to Victory.