Officer Cleared In Cameraman's Injury

Officer Cleared In Cameraman's Injury

Washington Post - 9/4/1999 - Crime & Justice, Maryland

A Greenbelt police officer was acquitted in Prince George's County Circuit Court on Thursday of second-degree assault in connection with a June 1998 incident in which a WRC-TV (Channel 4) cameraman suffered a broken collarbone while covering a disturbance during a middle school graduation.

Officer John Rogers, a 10-year veteran, was acquitted by Circuit Court Judge Joseph S. Casula, said James N. Papirmeister, Roger's attorney. Rogers had been charged with assaulting James Robert Kizer on June 15, 1998, as Kizer covered a disturbance at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, the site of that year's graduation ceremony for Greenbelt Middle School. The auditorium was over crowded, and parents and others were jostling to get inside, according to court records and testimony.

According to court testimony, Kizer did not respond to four requests from a county sheriff's deputy to move away from an auditorium entrance, Papirmeister said. Rogers testified that he put his hand on Kizer's left arm to get his attention, at which point Kizer jerked around, lost his balance and fell, with the officer falling on top of him, Papirmeister said.

An internal investigation by Greenbelt police previously had cleared the officer of wrongdoing, Papirmeister said.