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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Video shows LA police beating boy
Video footage of the incident
An officer appears to hold the boy's head against a car
A white Los Angeles police officer has been suspended after being caught on video beating a black teenager during an arrest.

The 16-year-old boy, Donovan Jackson, became involved in a scuffle with officers after his father was stopped over a minor motoring offence.


The incident is being taken very seriously

Police Lieutenant Eve Irvine
The videotape, which was shot by a tourist at a nearby hotel, shows the handcuffed boy being punched by one of the officers, Jeremy Morse.

It has also been revealed that Officer Morse was named last month in a complaint by Neilson Williams, a 32-year old African-American man, who claims he too was beaten by the officer.

Officer injured

The Donovan Jackson arrest took place near a petrol station in the Inglewood district of Los Angeles - a mainly black and Hispanic area of the inner city - on Saturday night.

The police say the confrontation happened after they made a routine traffic stop.

The teenager, who denies he was resisting arrest, is alleged to have assaulted one of the officers.

The tape shows the handcuffed boy being picked up and slammed face-down against the back of a patrol car.

Rodney King video
The case has similarities with that of Rodney King
Mr Donovan was then punched in the jaw by police officer Jeremy Morse, who has since been suspended pending an inquiry into the incident.

Officer Morse and his colleagues say that before the video started rolling the boy had lunged at him, leaving him with cuts on his head, ear and elbow that required hospital treatment.

On the tape, Officer Morse can be seen bleeding from a cut above his ear.

'Extremely disturbing'

Inglewood police lieutenant Eve Irvine described the circumstances of the arrest as "extremely disturbing".

"The incident is being taken very seriously," she said.


We intend to seek justice in the courts unless we get a call from the proper authorities saying: 'We want to do the right thing without a jury

Joe Hopkins, family lawyer

She added that both the Inglewood police department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had begun formal investigations into the incident.

Joe Hopkins, the lawyer for the teenager's family, said the boy was seated on the ground before the officers started hitting him and that the attack was racially motivated.

He said one of the officers had called the boy "nigger" during the incident.

"We intend to seek justice in the courts unless we get a call from the proper authorities saying: 'We want to do the right thing without a jury,'" Mr Hopkins said.

The video, shot by tourist Mitchell Crooks from his motel room, has been shown on television throughout America, prompting an angry reaction.

Human rights groups and activists from the black community have been swift to compare the incident to the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King.

When the white officers involved in that case were acquitted it led to some of the worst riots ever seen in Los Angeles.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Bryant
"A rough form of justice from Los Angeles police"
Cameraman Mitchell Crooks
"What I got on the tape was absolutely crucial"
KFWB correspondent Bob Jiminez
"We have a lot of community leaders speaking out against it"
See also:

30 Apr 02 | Americas
30 Apr 02 | Americas
16 Oct 99 | Americas
03 Jul 00 | Americas
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