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Tue, 07.29.2003

L.A. Police brutality case deadlocked

Officer Morse

On this date in 2003 in Los Angeles, a Superior Court judge declared a deadlocked jury in a police brutality case against a white former officer and the case was dismissed.  Inglewood Officer Jeremy Morse punched and slammed Donovan Jackson, a handcuffed Black teenager, onto a squad car during a videotaped arrest. The jury deliberated more than three days without reaching a verdict.

This case raised racial tensions and drew comparisons to the Rodney King beating in the same city. Morse, 25, the former Inglewood police officer accused of assault, could have received up to three years in prison if convicted.  His partner, Bijan Darvish, 26, was found innocent of falsifying a police report in the incident, which occurred at a gas station in Inglewood, a city to the south of Los Angeles. Darvish and his attorney banged their fists on the counsel table and breathed, "Yes" as the verdicts were read. Morse sat expressionless with his hands locked.

Someone in the courtroom yelled, "There is no justice here!" and was silenced by Superior Court Judge William Hollingsworth, Jr.  Later the police sued the city, arguing that they were discriminated against because they are white. On January 18, the day after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, a Superior Court jury gave $2.4 million to the two officers.

The Associated Press
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Photo by Michael Riddick

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