6 Maryland students charged in post-Duke game riots

Offenses include disorderly conduct and arson in March 3 incident

May 13, 2010|By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

University of Maryland police have charged six students with offenses ranging from disorderly conduct to arson in connection with the riots after a March 3 men's basketball win over Duke.

The students could face expulsion, fines and jail time if convicted of the offenses, which included burning and destruction of property, according to police spokesman Paul Dillon. The charges were the result of a near-two-month investigation by Lt. Jim Goldsmith, who reviewed footage from more than 350 security cameras and online video sources and interviewed witnesses and suspects, Dillon said.

Dillon said the investigation should be taken as a sign of the seriousness with which police view the post-game riots that have plagued the College Park campus. "Without a doubt, we are taking it very seriously," he said. "We have to try to do something to act as a deterrent."

The charged students face hearings in Hyattsville District Court in late May and early June. They are: Joseph McQuillen, 22; John Winters, 19; Joseph Margot, 20; Omar Aly, 20; Alex MacKay Spina, 19; and John Celmer, 22.

Goldsmith also turned his findings over to the university's office of student conduct, which could recommend suspension or expulsion hearings before a student judicial panel.

McQuillen told the campus newspaper The Diamondback that Goldsmith "bullied" him into an interview and that he would not have granted it if he had known charges were possible. He said he was arrested at his house on May 6.

"I'm sure he was read his Miranda rights," Dillon said. "No one is ever forced to speak with a police officer."

Four Prince George's County police officers were suspended in April after video surfaced of an unarmed student being beaten by police in riot gear after the Duke game. Prosecutors dropped charges against the student, John J. McKenna, and another student, Benjamin C. Donat, who were accused of assaulting officers on horseback.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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