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Two Officers Suspended After Beating; King’s Lawyer Say Racial Slurs Used

May 5, 1991

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Two California Highway Patrol officers were suspended without pay after a videotape showed them beating two Gulf War protesters during a January demonstration.

And, in a development in the highly-publicized videotaped beating in Los Angeles, an attorney for the black motorist said police used racial slurs during the incident. Rodney King had originally told reporters he did not believe his beating was racially motivated.

In San Francisco, officers Reginald Redmond and Nicholas Chouprov were notified last week they were being suspended for 20 and 10 days respectively. The action was made public Friday by the State Personnel Board.

The suspensions stem from the Jan. 19 beatings of Eli Rosenblatt and Aaron Lamperti, which were filmed by another protester and shown on television newscasts.

CHP officials contacted Saturday in Sacramento refused to discuss the suspensions.

The discipline report noted that the 50 demonstrators ″were blatantly endangering the lives of the motoring public and themselves″ by blocking traffic on an entrance ramp to U.S. Highway 101. The cars, however, were moving again when the beatings occurred, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

Lamperti’s leg was broken by a blow from Redmond’s baton. Rosenblatt suffered cuts and bruises after being hit with batons by both officers, the newspaper said.

Ed Davis, an attorney representing Rosenblatt and Lamperti, said he was disappointed by the length of the suspensions. ″By the time the person with the camera got there it had been under way for a while,″ he said.

In suspending the officers, CHP Capt. F.W. Dwyer said the men ″brought discredit upon yourself and the department.″ He said the beatings ″were without excuse .. and cannot be tolerated.″

Also Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported that 17 police officers who watched fellow officers beat King on March 3 probably won’t be indicted because prosecutors cannot find a state law under which to charge them.

A Los Angeles County grand jury reviewing the case is expected to finish its work Tuesday, the paper reported, citing unidentified sources. It is not expected to file additional charges against a police sergeant and three officers already charged with felony assault, the Times reported. The four officer have pleaded innocent.

Mike Botula, a spokesman for District Attorney Ira Reiner, said Saturday that the investigation into King’s beating was still open.

King’s lawyer, Steven Yerman, said Friday that his client remembers hearing racial epithets but didn’t speak out for fear of antagonizing police, the Times said. The newspaper did not report the specific slurs.

King’s aunt, Angela King, said Friday she had urged King to reveal the alleged racial slurs. She said she and other family members were overruled by King’s mother, Odessa King, who believed such a revelation would aggravate racial tensions.

Prosecutors were studying sound from a videotape of the beating to determine if policemen uttered slurs, Botula said.

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