[News] Police Awarded $2.4 Million in California Beating Case

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Thu Jan 20 15:32:05 EST 2005

Policemen Awarded $2.4 Mln in California Beating Case

Wed Jan 19, 3:48 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two police officers involved in a videotaped
beating of a black teenager that sparked nationwide outrage have been
awarded $2.4 million by a Los Angeles jury that found they were
unfairly disciplined.

The larger jury award of $1.6 million went to Jeremy Morse who was
fired from the Inglewood police force immediately after the 2002
incident in which he was captured on an amateur videotape slamming a 16
year-old onto a squad car and punching him in the jaw after a routine
vehicle stop.

The incident, shown repeatedly on nationwide television, had echoes of
the infamous beating by four Los Angeles police of black motorist
Rodney King that in 1992 sparked some of the worst urban rioting in
U.S. history.

Morse, who is white, sued the mostly black city of Inglewood alleging
he was disciplined unfairly because a black officer who was also at the
scene, but never charged, was suspended for only five days. He claimed
racial discrimination and on Tuesday was awarded the damages.

Morse had been tried twice on assault charges but the jury deadlocked
both times and prosecutors dropped the case a year ago.

His partner, Bijan Darvish, was suspended for 10 days and later
acquitted of filing a false police report over the incident. Darvish
claimed his suspension was excessive and was awarded $811,000 damages.

Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn was astonished by the verdict. "How do
you give a man who was suspended for only 10 days more than $800,000?
Morse was fired, but $1.6 million?" Dorn told the Los Angeles Times.

Lawyer Paul Coble, who represented Inglewood in the case, said he would
meet with city officials next week to consider appealing either the
verdict or the size of the award.

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