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Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Black youth to sue California police
Video footage of the incident
The video pictures have caused outrage
A black teenager who was filmed being beaten by a white policeman in Los Angeles is suing police officers and local authorities.

The US Government has also launched a civil rights investigation into the incident, which was caught on videotape by a passer-by.


Based on what I saw on the video, the officers used the batons in areas where they are taught to use batons

Oklahoma police chief MT Berry
In a separate incident, the chief of police in Oklahoma has defended an officer filmed kicking and punching a black suspect.

The BBC's Ian Pannell, in Washington, says public outrage among black Americans over the incidents is rising.

Donovan Jackson, 16, and his father Coby Chavis have filed a civil rights suit against four policemen and local authorities in Inglewood, California, following Saturday's videotaped beating.

"We believe this is a seven-figure case," said Mr Jackson's lawyer, John Sweeney.

"We want to send the city of Inglewood a message that we are going to prosecute this case as vigorously and as roughly as they beat our clients," he said.

Officer suspended

The Inglewood Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department declined to comment.

The police officer accused of beating Mr Jackson - Jeremy Morse - has been suspended from duty pending an internal inquiry while three other officers are also under investigation.

The teenager's family says he suffers from a speech and learning disability.

Videotape arrest
Oklahoma police say no illegal blows were struck
Civic leaders took part in a march to Inglewood city hall on Tuesday and stormed into the mayor's office to protest against the beating.

They have demanded that the officer be sacked and that he face criminal charges.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Wednesday that the US Justice Department had opened a civil-rights investigation to be conducted by the FBI.

In an attempt to calm racial tension in Los Angeles, the department has sent specialists led by the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Ralph Boyd.

Police say that the youth injured Mr Morse before the videotape began. The teenager was booked for assaulting a police officer and released.

The film showed Mr Jackson, who was handcuffed, being slammed on to a car and then punched.

Oklahoma arrest

In Oklahoma, an amateur cameraman videotaped two white officers trying to arrest Donald Pete whom they suspected of trying to conceal marijuana by swallowing it.

When Mr Pete refused to lie on the ground, he was beaten repeatedly on the back and legs by the officers.

The Chief of the Oklahoma Police Department defended the officers, saying they acted correctly while handling the arrest on Monday.

Police Chief M T Berry said: "Based on what I saw on the video, the officers used the batons in areas where they are taught to use batons, there were no illegal blows."

Mr Pete was arrested on complaints of destroying evidence, resisting arrest, and assault and battery of an officer.

The two incidents have revived memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots which were sparked by the acquittal of white policemen videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gillian ni Cheallaigh
"He is looking for a seven-figure sum"
See also:

10 Jul 02 | Americas
09 Jul 02 | Americas
11 Jul 02 | Americas
30 Apr 02 | Americas
30 Apr 02 | Americas
16 Oct 99 | Americas
03 Jul 00 | Americas
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