LAPD Disciplinary Board Finds Officer Guilty of Misconduct in King Beating
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A police officer who helped arrest black motorist Rodney King was found guilty of misconduct by a disciplinary board that recommended his temporary suspension.
Louis M. Turriaga, 27, was not one of four officers tried on criminal charges in the March 1991 videotaped beating.
He was the sixth so-called ″bystander″ officer to go before the police Board of Rights, the city police disciplinary board, and the first to be found guilty of misconduct.
The board has not yet held hearings for the four officers who were acquitted of most criminal charges in King’s beating, and who now face a federal civil-rights trial.
The acquittals in April sparked the spring riots in Los Angeles, killing 53 people and causing nearly $1 billion in damage.
The board on Tuesday found Turriaga guilty of dragging King while he was handcuffed, putting his foot on King’s head during handcuffing and failing to report misconduct.
In a unanimous vote, the board found him innocent of failure to intervene, said Deputy Chief Bayan Lewis, chairman of the panel.
On Wednesday, the board recommended Turriaga be suspended for 44 days. Department rules allow Police Chief Willie L. Williams to reduce the recommended penalty. He cannot impose a harsher punishment.
Lewis said the famous videotape of the King beating was critical in the board’s decision.
″He wasn’t one of the four charged,″ Lewis said. ″But he was one of those not exactly on the sidelines.″
Turriaga would not comment on the discipline, and his defense representative, Officer William Harkness, also declined to comment.
Four other officers who were present at the beating have been exonerated of departmental charges, and a helicopter pilot was reprimanded.