Police in King beating case sent to jail: Judge imposes light sentence because not all the blows were struck illegally
Thursday 05 August 1993
The sentences were a quarter of the maximum 10-year prison terms which federal prosecutors had sought, and prompted an angry early response from some members of the inner city's black population.
But, although Los Angeles police were on full alert as the sentencing was passed, tension in the city was far lower than in April 1992, when a state court's acquittal of all four policemen in the King beating ignited some of the worst riots ever seen in the United States.
Announcing his decision, US District Judge John Davies surprised onlookers by observing that many of the worst blows inflicted on Mr King during his videotaped beating were legal - which seemed to endorse considerable use of force by the police.
He also took into account the conduct of Rodney King, who he said carried some blame for what occurred. A drunken Mr King, on parole after a robbery conviction, was accosted by police after a high-speed, late-night car chase in March 1991.
The judge said that the beating was legal when it began, as Mr King resisted arrest. It did not become a crime until the officers carried on with the beating after Mr King had stopped moving. By then he had already suffered most of his more severe injuries, which, the judge said, could therefore not be considered when sentencing.
Judge Davies, an Australian, characterised the officers as 'good family men', who were not a threat to society and had good service records. He was also mindful that the officers had, unusually, been put through two trials.
The first, before an almost entirely white jury in an out-of- town California state court in 1992, led to rioting when they were acquitted. The second, which followed a federal investigation ordered by George Bush, was in a Los Angeles federal court this year before a panel including two blacks.
In the second trial, the two officers, Sgt Stacey Koon, 43, and Laurence Powell, 30, were convicted of violating Mr King's civil rights. Koon was the senior officer, who 'supervised' the beating; Powell administered the bulk of the dozens of baton blows and kicks that Mr King suffered.
The officers, who have been ordered to surrender to the authorities on 27 September, could be sent to any one of four relatively low-security federal prison camps in southern California. They are likely to be segregated from other inmates, for their own protection.
- 2 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
Priest warns pupils the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' is 'demonic activity'
Tinder and Grindr dating apps blamed for surge in cases of HIV, syphilis and other STDs
Fifa corruption arrests: Sepp Blatter 'quite relaxed' and confident he is 'not involved'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£22,400: The Grange Retirement Home: This is a key role which requires a sound...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...
£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...