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Jury Deadlocks on Charge Against Deputy

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accused of following and shooting a man whose car collided with the officer’s motorcycle.

The jury, which began deliberations Monday, deadlocked 11 to 1 for conviction.

Deputy Gregory Cook faced a single count of assault with a deadly weapon, plus the special circumstance of using a firearm, in connection with the April 28, 1990, shooting of Reginald Lamont Payne following a Seal Beach traffic accident.

Neither attorney in Cook’s case could be reached for comment, but Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Maurice L. Evans said, “We are very disappointed that there wasn’t a verdict in the case. We are reviewing the matter, and I anticipate that we will be asking the court to set the matter for a new trial.”

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The incident began on a Saturday night in Long Beach, as Cook was riding his motorcycle on Westminster Avenue near Studebaker Road. Payne’s vehicle struck the rear of Cook’s cycle, but Cook did not fall.

Payne’s attorney, Gregory S. Silver, said that the accident occurred because Cook swerved into Payne’s lane and, although Payne tried to avoid the cycle, he clipped it.

Thereafter, Silver said, Cook pulled next to Payne at a traffic light and shouted a racial epithet. Cook then told Payne he was a police officer and that he had a gun. Payne drove into Seal Beach, pulling into the Rockwell International parking lot. Cook followed him, and the men exchanged words. Payne then fled on foot and, while climbing a fence, was shot twice in the foot and leg, Silver said.

Cook, who was working as a court bailiff in Los Angeles at the time of the incident, was reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

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When the charges were filed against Cook, it marked the first time in recent years that the Orange County district attorney had decided to prosecute a police officer involved in a shooting, officials said. Since then, Alan B. Ice, a former Long Beach police officer, has been charged in an off-duty shooting stemming from a traffic dispute earlier this year in Fountain Valley.


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