Police Sergeant Appears on Talk Show Before Hostile Audience
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Sgt. Stacey Koon, one of four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of a black motorist, faced a hostile audience during the taping of a TV talk show.
Koon, who has written a book about the beating, was a guest Friday on the NBC program, ″A Closer Look With Faith Daniels,″ before an invited audience of South Central Los Angeles residents, many of whom accused Koon of racism.
Koon said he agreed to the show’s confrontational format because he wanted to stimulate change in the Police Department’s use of force policies.
″Only a masochist would come here and take this kind of abuse,″ he quipped five minutes after the taping began.
Koon said existing department policy prohibited the officers from using a choke-hold to restrain King, who was resisting arrest. They were forced, therefore, to keep hitting him with batons, he said.
Audience members didn’t appear to have been persuaded.
″You were found guilty by South Central,″ said Malik Spellman, a member of Hands Across Watts who appeared with Koon during part of the program.
Emotions ran so high during the taping of the two half-hour segments, to be broadcast Monday and Tuesday, that Miss Daniels and Koon let the audience talk long after the taping stopped.
Koon and three other officers were acquitted by a Simi Valley jury in April of all but one charge in the beating.
The acquittals sparked four days of rioting in South Central that left 53 dead and did nearly $1 billion worth of property damage.
The four officers now face federal civil rights charges in the case.