A pre-trial hearing for a Penn State student charged with felony riot was postponed Friday as his attorney plans to file motions questioning the way police handled the case.
The student’s attorney, Andrew Shubin, said there are no “contemporaneous reports relative to the alleged criminal conduct” against former Daily Collegian photographer Maxwell C. Kruger. Shubin also contended that police deleted e-mails pertaining to Kruger’s case.
Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira said Shubin is making an assumption that the e-mails have substance to the case. Madeira added police testimony of their observations of that night are evidence of Kruger’s actions.
Kruger, 138 S. Atherton St., was charged with felony riot and misdemeanor failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after police said he stood on the roof of a car while taking pictures during the Oct. 25 riot. Police estimated damage to the vehicle at about $4,475.
However, police did not document Kruger’s possible actions that night, Shubin said. The charges came after Kruger approached the State College Police Department Oct. 27 to file a complaint against police for using excessive force, he said.
It was after this meeting that Detective Ken Ferron of the State College Police Department obtained a photograph of Kruger and circulated it to other officers, according to the criminal complaint.
Patton Township Police Officer Jeff McElrath recognized Kruger as a man he had seen standing on top of a car, according the complaint.
McElrath testified at Kruger’s preliminary hearing that he yelled at the 21-year-old “five or six different times” to leave before pepper spraying him.
Shubin said this use of force is required to be documented, and said police should have recorded this the night of the riot along with Kruger’s actions. Additionally, e-mails about the case should have been turned over to the defense instead of being deleted, Shubin said.
He’s been asking for the charges to be dismissed since Kruger’s preliminary hearing in December, saying there is no evidence his client did anything other than stand on the car and take pictures.
“Mr. Shubin is doing what a defense attorney is supposed to do,” Madiera said. “He’s spinning the case in a way that favors his client.”