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Former Inglewood officer charged in freeway incident

A former Inglewood police officer was charged Wednesday with child abuse and brandishing a gun at another motorist during a freeway confrontation last year, prosecutors said.

Officer Michael Lewis Robinson, 44, surrendered to the California Highway Patrol on Wednesday and was later released on $100,000 bail.

According to the prosecutor on the case, Robinson was off-duty and driving on the 405 Freeway with his children -- ages 6 and 11 -- when he allegedly flashed a firearm in a threatening manner at another driver. Prosecutors said the confrontation occurred March 31, 2008.

In addition to one count of brandishing a weapon and two counts of child abuse, Robinson was charged with one misdemeanor count of obstructing CHP officers. If convicted, Robinson faces a maximum of nine years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 15.

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Police spokesman Lt. Mike McBride said Robinson has not been an employee of the department for about a month, but declined to give details, saying that he could not discuss personnel matters.

John Baca, president of the Inglewood police officers’ union, declined to discuss the case.

The 200-strong police force has been besieged in recent years by allegations that its officers used excessive force and shot at unarmed suspects. A Times investigation last December found that officers repeatedly resorted to physical or deadly force against suspects who were unarmed or accused of minor offenses. During a four-month period in 2008, Inglewood officers fatally shot four suspects -- three of whom were unarmed.

The U.S. Department of Justice last month announced that it was launching a civil rights inquiry into the department.--

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victoria.kim@latimes.com


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