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Inglewood officer indicted in videotaped arrest


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CNN's Connie Chung talks to the lawyer for the police officer accused of beating an Inglewood, California teenager (July 12)
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CNN's Charles Feldman examines the plight of Mitchell Crooks, the man who videotaped Inglewood police roughing up teenager Donovan Jackson (July 12)
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• Read the complaint: Jackson v. CIty of Inglewood (FindLaw) (PDF)external link
• Transcript: Officer relieved of duty 

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A Los Angeles County grand jury Wednesday indicted Jeremy Morse, the Inglewood police officer seen on an amateur videotape violently arresting a teenager, on one count of assault for the incident.

The charge carries a potential sentence of three years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

A three-year veteran of the police department, Morse is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, where his attorney said he would enter a plea of not guilty.

The videotape, which was aired repeatedly on television nationwide, shows Morse throwing 16-year-old Donovan Jackson onto the trunk of a squad car and punching him. Morse has been suspended with pay.

Police said the incident occurred after police and deputies pulled behind the car driven by Jackson's father, Coby Chavis, at a convenience store where he was pumping gas. They noticed Chavis had expired license plates and later discovered his driver's license was suspended.

But according to Chavis' attorney, officers questioned Chavis at the station for no reason and later began to beat Jackson. Father and son have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that a second officer also struck Jackson before the videotape rolled.

Morse's partner, Officer Bijan Darvish, wrote in a police report obtained by the Times that he punched Jackson twice in the face before the teen was handcuffed because he was afraid the youth would hit him.

The report also cites Morse as saying he struck Jackson after the handcuffed youth grabbed his testicles, causing "extreme pain."

Joe Hopkins, an attorney for Jackson's family, told the Times he was skeptical of the police report. He said he believes that all four Inglewood officers at the scene "took turns" beating Jackson before the videotaping began.

"What we see on the tape is the second beating," he said.

The videotape was made by Mitchell Eugene Crooks, an unemployed northern California man, a fugitive since 1999 when he was convicted in Placer County of driving under the influence, hit-and-run and petty theft. He was flown to Auburn on Friday to serve a seven-month criminal sentence.


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