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D.A. Won’t File Charges in L.A. Beating

February 3, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Prosecutors announced Thursday they will not file charges against a police officer who was videotaped clubbing a car-theft suspect with a flashlight in a case that evoked comparisons to the Rodney King beating.

The decision by the district attorney’s office came after a five-month review of the incident, in which Officer John Hatfield struck Stanley Miller 11 times with a 2-pound steel flashlight after a June 23 car-and-foot chase in South Los Angeles.

``In light of the totality of the circumstances facing Officer Hatfield, we cannot establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Hatfield’s actions were without legal necessity,″ Deputy District Attorney Margo Baxter said in a statement.

Miller, who is black, was beaten on the ground after he appeared to have surrendered. Hatfield, who is Hispanic, ran up and joined other officers who had pushed Miller to the ground.

The arrest, which was recorded by TV news helicopters, was compared by critics to the 1991 videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King by four white officers.

Separately, the department is reviewing the actions of seven officers and a sergeant. The review could result in disciplinary action.

Miller, who turns 37 on Friday, has filed a $25 million claim against the city, saying he suffered brain damage and other injuries in the arrest.

He was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle and evading police.

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