Rodney King case officers charged

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The Independent Online
LOS ANGELES - The four white police officers in the Rodney King beating case, whose acquittals sparked the worst US urban riots this century, have been indicted by a federal grand jury and face a new trial, writes Phil Reeves.

Federal prosecutors said the men used excessive force against Mr King, the black man whose beating was videotaped and broadcast worldwide. They will be tried for violating his civil rights and if found guilty could be jailed for up to 10 years. They also face fines of up to dollars 250,000 ( pounds 130,000) each.

Daryl Gates, the recently retired Los Angeles police chief, described the indictments as 'overkill' and 'tragic'.

The grand jury's decision will come as a relief to the state and federal officials. Minority and civil rights groups would have seen a decision not to do anything as a further act of racism and injustice, compounding that of the original trial jury and the beating itself.