Juror: Verdicts Might Have Been Different if King Had Testified With PM-Taped Beating, Bjt
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) _ A member of the jury that acquitted four Los Angeles policemen in the Rodney King beating said the verdict might have been different had King testified.
″Had King been able to talk to us, the video might have been looked at differently,″ the juror, who agreed to be interviewed if not identified by name or gender, was quoted as saying on ABC’s ″Nightline.″
Neither side called King as a witness during the trial, whose verdict Wednesday set off rioting by blacks and whites that left at least nine people dead and scores injured. King is black; the four officers are white.
The jury - which included an Asian, a Hispanic and no blacks - issued a statement and left in a sheriff’s bus without talking to reporters.
″If we want to speak about it, we will do so in our own time and in our own way,″ the statement said. ″This experience has been an extremely difficult and stressful one, one which we have all agonized over a great deal. We feel we have done the best job we possibly could have done.″
The juror interviewed by ABC said the verdict was influenced by all the evidence, not just the video of the beating.
″I have no regrets about the verdict,″ the juror said.
King’s lawyer said the motorist didn’t testify because he had nothing to add to the video. A prosecutor said he didn’t call King because King’s memory would have been clouded by the beating and by his heavy drinking that night.
The juror noted that King was chased by police for more than eight miles before he was pulled over and didn’t cooperate with officers.
″Time and again, the juror told me, ’King controlled the action, he could have stopped it. When he got out of the car, he could have put his hands in the air, he wouldn’t have been touched,‴ ABC newsman Ted Koppel reported.
The juror questioned the severity of King’s beating. The jury looked at the tape more than 30 times.
″A lot of those blows, when you watched them in slow motion, were not connecting,″ the juror was quoted as saying. ″Those batons are heavy, but when you looked at King’s body three days after the incident, not that much damage was done.″
As for the suggestion of racism, the juror pointed to the presence of two other blacks in King’s car who surrendered and were not beaten.
A juror interviewed by the Los Angeles Times but not identified by the newspaper offered a similar impression of King’s conduct.
″He refused to get out of the car,″ the juror said. ″His two companions got out of the car and complied with all the orders and he just continued to fight. So the police department had no alternative. He was obviously a dangerous person. ... Mr. King was controlling the whole show with his actions.″
An unidentified female juror interviewed today by CNN denied that the verdict was racially biased.
″In my opinion, based on all of the evidence that was presented to us, it is not a racial thing. I am not unhappy with the verdict; that’s the only verdict that could have been reached.″
A juror interviewed by NBC over the telephone with a voice distortion device would not speculate on whether testimony from King would have changed the outcome.
″Had Rodney King gotten out of his vehicle, as he was ordered to do, and complied with the policemen’s orders, nothing would have happened to him,″ the juror said. ″Rodney King was not being abused.″
It was not clear whether the newspaper and the networks interviewed the same juror.