Skip to main content /US /US

FBI probing videotaped beating

Officer Jeremy Morse was suspended after being videotaped slamming a handcuffed teen against a police car.
Officer Jeremy Morse was suspended after being videotaped slamming a handcuffed teen against a police car.  

INGLEWOOD, California (CNN) -- The FBI is conducting its own investigation of the videotaped beating of a handcuffed black teen-ager in this Los Angeles suburb, officials said Tuesday.

The amateur videotape of the Saturday incident, which aired on local and national television Monday, shows a white police officer throwing Donovan Chavis, 16, against a police car and punching him in the face.

An attorney for Chavis described the teen as a developmentally disabled special education student with no arrest record who did not understand what was happening, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The incident also is under investigation by the city's police department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office.

Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn told dozens of protesters who showed up Tuesday at city hall demanding a meeting that the officer should be fired.

Dorn said he had ordered the suspension of Jeremy Morse, a three-year veteran of the police force. No action has been taken against three other officers and two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies at the scene.

The FBI has launched a probe into the police beating of a black teen in Inglewood, California, while angry protesters took to the streets. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports (July 10)

Play video

A teen-ager whose beating by Inglewood police was videotaped said he had done nothing to provoke the attack. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports (July 9)

Play video
Caught on tape 
CNN Access: Supervisor should have been at beating scene 
Transcript: Officer relieved of duty 

"In my city, this type of conduct will not be tolerated," Dorn said to cheers from the protesters. "It is my opinion that he should be fired."

Dorn said he was deeply disturbed by what he saw on the video and that "there is nothing that could have occurred" before the video began rolling that would have merited such police action.

"This shouldn't have happened again after Rodney King," said Inglewood resident Shirley McNabb who was among the people at city hall.

In Washington, Rep. Maxine Waters, the Democrat who represents Inglewood, wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft Tuesday requesting a Justice Department investigation.

"I don't see white police officers slamming the heads of little white boys into police cars," Waters told a Capitol Hill news conference.

"I haven't seen them abusing white males. What I see is white police officers abusing black males, and young black males particularly. Yes, I believe it's racially motivated.

"I stand with this family. I stand on the side of this young man," Waters said. "There was nothing that he could have done that could have caused this kind of treatment.

"He didn't have a weapon. He didn't try to run away. He did nothing that could cause the police to bang his head against that police car."

Inglewood police have not said much about what led up to the incident -- only that Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies had stopped the car because of expired license plates.

The boy's father, Coby Chavis, also was driving with a suspended license. Police said the boy lunged at Morse and that the officer sustained cuts as a result -- a claim the family denied.

Donovan Chavis told CNN he and his father had gone to a gas station Saturday. After he paid for the gas and bought a package of potato chips, he returned to the car and found police questioning his father, he said.

At one point, the teen said, a police officer turned his attention to him: "He said, 'Put those chips on the car and step back from the car.'"

Donovan said he did. "What they told him to do, he did it," his father said.

Family attorney Joe Hopkins said that before the video began Donovan was handcuffed, beaten and dragged by an 18-inch chain around his neck that snapped.




Back to the top