L.A. Police Officers Charged
LOS ANGELES — FEDERAL prosecutors say they can succeed where the state failed and convict four police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.
Officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Sgt. Stacey Koon were to surrender yesterday on federal charges they violated Mr. King's civil rights in the motorist's beating last year.
The four Los Angeles officers' acquittal on state charges of assault and brutality April 29 touched off the deadly Los Angeles riots and led to the empaneling of the federal grand jury that returned the indictments.
Messrs. Powell, Wind, and Briseno are accused of beating King in their role as law officers. Koon is charged with failing to prevent the assault by officers under his command. If convicted, they could get up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Mayor Tom Bradley said Wednesday the indictments will "help bring about a sense of confidence on the part of the people that the system is working."
In announcing the indictments, United States Attorney Lourdes Baird said career prosecutors had evaluated the evidence and determined they had a strong case.
"The unanimous conclusion is that the evidence amply supports the charges that are reflected in the indictment," she said. "It was an unreasonable use of force."