DETROIT (AP) _ A white former police officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter today in his retrial in the beating death of black motorist Malice Green, a case that highlighted the racial split in this largely black city.

The jury of eight whites, three blacks and an Asian deliberated 22 1/2 hours over five days before convicting Walter Budzyn of the count, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. A previous jury had convicted him of the more severe charge of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Budzyn, 52, showed no expression as the verdict was read. His daughter, Andy Budzyn-Moleski, broke into tears as today's verdict was read and mouthed ``why?''

He had served 4 1/2 years of an eight-to-18-year sentence on his 1993 murder conviction before the state Supreme Court threw it out last summer.

Prosecutor Doug Baker suggested that judge might sentence Budzyn to time already served, adding, ``that would not upset me.'' Sentencing was scheduled for April 17.

The court dismissed the first verdict partly because the mostly black jury was shown the film ``Malcolm X'' during a break in its deliberations. The film opens by showing the videotaped beating of Rodney King with a voice-over from Malcolm X charging the white man is ``the greatest murderer on Earth.''

Green, a 35-year-old unemployed steelworker, died Nov. 5, 1992, after a confrontation that left him with severe head injuries from at least one police flashlight. He also had cocaine and alcohol in his system when he died.

Budzyn testified that he didn't hit Green. He said he saw his partner, Larry Nevers, holding Green and the flashlight coming down toward Green's head. ``It came down and it stopped,'' he said. ``I don't know if you'd call that a hit, but it did make contact with the head.''

But eyewitnesses who were acquaintances of Green _ including some who smoked crack cocaine shortly before the altercation _ said they saw Budzyn beat Green.

According to testimony, race was not a factor in Green's death. Still, in the aftermath of the 1991 King beating in Los Angeles and the riots there the following year, the death heightened racial tensions in Detroit.

The initial jury, made up of 11 blacks and one white, was chosen only from within Detroit. Because of a subsequent reorganization that combined city and Wayne County courts, the second trial drew jurors from the suburbs as well as the city.

Nevers was convicted by a separate jury in the same 1993 trial. He was released in December after a federal judge overturned the verdict. No retrial has been scheduled for him while prosecutors appeal.