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King Reportedly Taunted in Hospital

From a Times Staff Writer

Grand jury transcripts obtained by The Times Friday show that Los Angeles police officers jeered at Rodney G. King in a hospital emergency room and flippantly remarked that “we played a good game of hardball” and “we hit quite a few home runs” after smashing their batons over his body on March 3.

Carole Denise Edwards and Lawrence Davis, emergency room nurses at Pacifica Hospital in Sun Valley, described how some of the officers sarcastically referred to King’s beating as though it were a game of baseball.

The nurses said the taunting began when King mentioned that he worked as an usher at Dodger Stadium. An officer then said to King, “We played a little baseball tonight, didn’t we?”

“What do you mean?” King asked.

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“We played a little hardball tonight, and you lost.”

Davis recalled that one of the police officers made a racial slur about King, who is black. The nurse could not recall the exact statement made by the officer.

The transcripts also show that a California Highway Patrol officer advised the Los Angeles County Grand Jury that Los Angeles officers violated commonly practiced police policies by wielding the batons on King’s head.

“They tell you not to use it” on someone’s head, CHP Officer Melanie Singer testified, " . . . because of the damage-causing effect it can have.” The only exception, she added, would be if “you are in a survival situation where it’s life or death.”

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The testimony, taken over four days behind the grand jury’s closed doors, was used by the panel to support its indictment of Los Angeles Police Sgt. Stacey Koon and Officers Laurence M. Powell, Timothy E. Wind and Theodore J. Briseno.

The officers had been scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Superior Court, but that hearing was postponed until Tuesday when their attorneys told the judge they were not ready to proceed.


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