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L.A. officer indicted for shooting unarmed man

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A Los Angeles police officer has been indicted by a grand jury for shooting an unarmed 66-year-old man during a traffic dispute, authorities said.

The two-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, charges Officer Ronald Orosco with assault involving a semiautomatic weapon and shooting at an occupied moving vehicle during a June traffic incident, according to court documents. Orosco, 30, pleaded innocent in Los Angeles Superior Court after surrendering and posting $100,000 bail.

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At the time of the shooting, Orosco was an undercover officer at the LAPD's 77th division south of downtown Los Angeles, according to Deputy District Attorney John Gilligan. He was on duty at the time of the incident.

The victim, Charles Beatty, survived the shooting and has recovered from his wound, said Victoria Pipkin, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

"There was a dispute about a traffic violation," Gilligan said. "At one point, Mr. Beatty felt that he had to leave for his own safety. He attempted to leave the scene when Officer Orosco fired four times, hitting Mr. Beatty once in the back."

The charges, although not related to the ongoing corruption scandal in the Rampart division, involves similar allegations of excessive force, Pipkin said.

The case against Orosco is the first criminal filing since the revival of an Officer-Involved Shooting Response program by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office. The program works through a team of prosecutors who respond to all police shootings to investigate whether excessive force was used, Pipkin said.

The response program was revived after revelations by former Los Angeles police officer Rafael Perez, who claimed officers routinely covered up unjustified shootings, falsified police reports and committed perjury, according to transcripts obtained by CNN.

An attorney representing Orosco declined to comment on the indictment. If found guilty of the charges, Orosco, who has been relieved of duty, faces 25 years to life in prison.



RELATED STORIES:
Philadelphia NAACP plans civil rights suit in police beating
July 14, 2000
Activists call for national police brutality summit
February 25, 1999

RELATED SITES:
The Los Angeles Police Department


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