Police officer suspended after video shows him hitting teen

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- A police officer was suspended Monday after he was shown on a videotape slamming a handcuffed teen-ager onto the back of a car and striking him during an arrest.

"What occurred within the video is extremely disturbing to the Inglewood Police Department and to the administrators of the city," police Lt. Eve Irvine said.

Irvine said 16-year-old Donovan Jackson lunged at a sheriff's deputy and a physical altercation occurred before a bystander began taping the arrest at a gas station Saturday.

Joe Hopkins, an attorney for the Jackson family, said the teen was seated on the ground before officers began hitting him.

Images from the gas station's surveillance cameras will be viewed to determine what happened, Irvine said.

Inglewood officer Jeremy Morse, a three-year veteran, was suspended with pay. Three other officers were at the gas station but were not relieved of duty.

Morse couldn't be reached for comment Monday. A request to Inglewood police to interview the officer was referred to the Inglewood Police Association. No officials with the association could be reached Monday.

The videotape, taken by a tourist from a motel across the street, shows the prone teen-ager hoisted to his feet by Morse and slammed onto the trunk of a police car.

The officer put a hand on the back of the teen-ager's neck, slugged him with his other hand and then appeared to choke him. Two officers appeared to intervene, with at least one trying to pull away the first officer's arm.

The Inglewood officers were assisting two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were investigating a car that had an expired vehicle registration. Driver Coby Chavis, 41, who is Jackson's father, was cited for driving with a suspended license.

The district attorney's spokeswoman said it has begun an investigation to determine whether any crimes were committed by law enforcement.

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