Training Film on Proper Use of Force Features Sgt. Koon


Sgt. Stacey C. Koon, one of four Los Angeles police officers indicted in the beating of Rodney G. King, was captured in an earlier videotape that is now used at the Police Academy to demonstrate the proper use of force when arresting a dangerous drug suspect.

In the videotape, shot by an independent film crew, Koon is seen shooting the suspect with a Taser electric stun gun, and then kicking the man in the front part of his body. Los Angeles Police Department officials said that in this incident Koon's actions were proper and within guidelines in controlling drug users.

The incident occurred in 1987 near 47th Street and Vermont Avenue, where police were called to investigate a serious traffic accident. At the scene, they were confronted by a man police said was under the influence of PCP, a highly potent drug that can dangerously enhance physical strength.

On the video, the man can be seen dancing around and challenging the officers, as well as interfering with their attempts to assist a person injured in the accident. When the man refuses to obey police orders, Koon shoots him once with the Taser gun. The man then pulls the Taser dart off his body, and lunges toward Koon.

The sergeant is next seen delivering a front kick to the man. Another officer comes up from behind and kicks the suspect's legs. After he falls to the ground, other officers swarm around the man and take him into custody.

Sometime after the incident, the police training academy obtained a copy of the film and began showing it to recruits and veteran officers as an example of an efficient handling of an uncooperative drug suspect. They said the film is particularly helpful in teaching officers how to safely and properly take down drug users, many of whom exhibit erratic behavior.

Police Cmdr. Rick Dinse, the chief spokesman in the King incident, said the film today is "used in training how to deal with a PCP suspect, and the proper use of force."

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