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Man who shot beating video arrested

Cop's attorney: Teen deserved to be punched

Mitchell Crooks is taken into custody outside CNN's Los Angeles bureau.
Mitchell Crooks is taken into custody outside CNN's Los Angeles bureau.  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The man who shot the amateur video of Inglewood police officers beating a black teen-ager was arrested Thursday by officials with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Meanwhile, the attorney for the police officer suspended in the case said the teen-ager took action "that required that he be punched."

Amateur photographer Mitchell Crooks was arrested outside CNN's Los Angeles bureau where he was scheduled for an interview. Witnesses said he was screaming as he was driven away by plainclothes officers.

Authorities said Crooks was taken to the grand jury investigating the beating case. He had failed to appear before the jury Thursday morning as scheduled. Authorities said his arrest was unrelated to that case.

The district attorney's office said Crooks was arrested on at least two previous charges from Placer County, in northern California.

One was an outstanding warrant for petty theft with a prior conviction, an offense that does not allow for bail under California law. The other was for hit-and-run while driving under the influence.

Attorney tells cop's story

Surveillance video of Mitchell Crooks getting taken into custody outside CNN's Los Angeles bureau (July 11)

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The family of a teen-ager seen beaten by police in a videotape has filed suit. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports. (July 11)

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Caught on tape 
Read the complaint: Jackson v. CIty of Inglewood (FindLaw) (PDF)
CNN Access: Supervisor should have been at beating scene 
Transcript: Officer relieved of duty 

The Los Angeles grand jury hopes to get the original videotape shot by Crooks, Chief Deputy District Attorney Curt Livesay told a Los Angeles radio talk show Wednesday.

Crooks and Livesay had a terse exchange on the show, with Crooks saying he feared police were "coming after me because I shot the video." (Full story)

The video shows a handcuffed Donovan Jackson, 16, being slammed onto a patrol car, then hit in the face by an Inglewood police officer. The tape, shot by Crooks from a hotel across the street from the incident, received widespread attention after airing on local and national television.

An attorney representing the officer said Thursday that Jackson deserved to be punched because he grabbed the mid-section of the officer in the moments before he was hit.

"He took action that required he be punched," attorney John Barnett told CNN. "The facts will show that the use of force was restrained given all of the circumstances."

Barnett represents Officer Jeremy Morse, a three-year veteran of the Inglewood police force. Morse has been suspended pending an investigation. No action has been taken against the other three Inglewood officers or the two sheriff's deputies who were at the scene.

"You cannot see what the subject is doing with his hands just prior to being hit in the face," Barnett said. "It's reported that [Jackson] after being placed on the vehicle grabbed the testicles of the officer, and thereafter he was punched."

Attorneys for Jackson and his father, Coby Chavis, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging their civil rights were violated. (Full story)

Law enforcement officials insist the altercation was started by Jackson, who they say tried to interfere with a deputy attempting to cite his father for having expired license plates and driving with a suspended license.

Jackson suffers from a disability that John Sweeney, Chavis' attorney, termed "auditory processing delays," making it difficult for him to follow oral instructions.


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