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Police video shooter, deputy DA spar on radio

Los Angeles County prosecutors seek original tape

The videotape shows Inglewood, California, police Officer Jeremy Morse grabbing Donovan Jackson, 16.
The videotape shows Inglewood, California, police Officer Jeremy Morse grabbing Donovan Jackson, 16.  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is convening a grand jury to look into the police beating of an African-American teen-ager that was caught on videotape as prosecutors struggle to get the man who shot the tape to cooperate with the investigation.

Tensions related to the incident were illustrated Wednesday in a terse exchange between Chief Deputy District Attorney Curt Livesay and videographer Mitchell Crooks on "The John and Ken Show" on KFI radio in Los Angeles.

The amateur tape -- shot by Crooks from a hotel across the street from the incident -- showed a handcuffed Donovan Jackson, 16, being slammed onto the trunk of a patrol car, then hit in the face by an Inglewood police officer. Authorities are interested in obtaining the original videotape to see what it shows.

A Los Angeles County deputy district attorney tells the man who shot the video of police beating a teen to appear before a grand jury on 'The John and Ken Show' radio program. (July 11)

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Law enforcement officials have insisted that the altercation was started by Jackson. Attorneys for Jackson and his father, who filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, said the incident was provoked by deputies and was racially motivated.

Crooks was discussing the tape on the syndicated radio program when the show's hosts also brought on the deputy district attorney. The following is an excerpt:

"The John and Ken Show": "So has the police ever looked at [the original tape]?"

Crooks: "No."

"The John and Ken Show": "Are you going to give it to them?"

Crooks: "Sure, I mean, I'm not going to give it to them, but I'm going to allow them to have a copy of it. I'll show it to them. I just want to make sure that I have an attorney present. I have talked to a couple of people with the ACLU. ..."

"The John and Ken Show": "Well, we have a chief deputy DA for Los Angeles County on the line here, [who] I think has something to add to this. Curt Livesay, welcome to 'The John and Ken Show.' Curt, Mitchell is on the line here. I assume you're up to speed on what we were discussing."

Livesay: "I think so, I haven't heard the entire conversation, but Mitchell, let me assure you that there's a grand jury subpoena for you, and I suggest that you honor it and you show up at the criminal courts building. That's downtown, 210 West Temple, and you be here promptly at 8:30 [Thursday] morning at the grand jury. That's the 13th floor of the building."

Crooks: "Well, I hope the city of L.A. rallies behind me because I don't have anybody, you know what I mean?"

"The John and Ken Show": "What do you mean, rally behind you? What do you want people to do?"

Crooks: "They're just coming after me because I shot the video. That's basically what this is boiling down to now. I'm fearing for my life. They're going to kick my ass in the cell or take turns on me probably."

Livesay: "Mitchell, Mitchell, this is Livesay, DA's office. We want you before the grand jury. We don't want you in a cell somewhere. We want you before the grand jury, and we want that original tape."

Crooks: "OK, wonderful, I already talked to you about that. I don't know why we have to go on air to talk about this sort of thing. I totally told you that, and I've told everybody that I've talked to that I'm willing to cooperate with everybody. I want the best possible outcome, except for Jeremy Morse [the police officer seen hitting the teen-ager in the video]."

Livesay: "OK, Mitchell, off the air, I want you to tell my investigators, who are standing by at this station, where you are, right now. If you want to cooperate -- off the air -- you tell DA investigators the address where you are right now."

[The sound of a phone hanging up is heard.]

"The John and Ken Show": "Who hung up there?"

Livesay: "Well, it must have been Mitchell."

"The John and Ken Show": "I guess the answer was no."




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