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Force Expert Says Officer Shouldn’t Have Stomped on King

June 15, 1994

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Officer Theodore Briseno acted inappropriately when he placed his foot on Rodney King’s neck during a famous videotaped beating, according to a police use-of-force expert.

Deputy Chief Lawrence Fetters testified Tuesday in hearings before the department’s Board of Rights. Briseno is trying to win back his job and the three-member board will forward a recommendation to police Chief Willie Williams, who will make the final decision.

Briseno was relieved of duty without pay shortly after the March 3, 1991, beating. The board has charged him with one count of unnecessarily kicking King. Briseno says three trials have cleared him of wrongdoing in the attack; two other officers are serving terms in federal prison.

Fetters said King appeared to be presenting little threat during the arrest, and the kick was ″an inappropriate and unnecessary use of force,″ especially since Briseno didn’t file a report for his role in the beating.

Briseno’s attorney, Greg Petersen, has called the hearing ″a smear campaign″ and said he would file a federal damage lawsuit against the Police Department.

The hearing could continue for a couple of weeks.

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