Officers In Donovan Jackson Arrest Win $2.4 Million For Reverse
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 20, 2005
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--The former police officer who was video-taped punching a handcuffed Donovan Jackson and slamming him down against a patrol car as been awarded over a million and a half dollars in what is being called a reverse discrimination lawsuit.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Tuesday chose to award $1.6 million to Jeremy Morse and $810,000 to his former partner, Bijan Darvish.
On July 6, 2002, Morse and Darvish, who are both white, asked 16-year-old Jackson to sit in a squad car outside a convenience store while they issued his father a ticket for expired license tabs. When Jackson, who has developmental disabilities and is African-American, got out of the car, the officers scuffled with him, wrestled him to the ground, and then arrested him for attacking them.
An amateur videotape of the arrest, showing Morse repeatedly punching the special education student in the face, then picking him up and slamming him down on the back of the squad car, was broadcast on television news stations around the world.
Officer Morse was fired and charged with using excessive and unnecessary force. Those assault charges were dropped last February after two separate trials ended in hung juries.
Officer Darvish was suspended and charged with filing a false police report. He was later acquitted on that charge. He still works for the Inglewood Police Department.
Morse and Darvish filed the lawsuit against the city of Inglewood in February of 2003 alleging reverse discrimination.
"This is not the first time police officers have been trapped in race situations where they suffered unfairly," the officers' attorney Gregory Smith told the Associated Press after the verdict was read. "This will have an impact in police departments across the country."
Inglewood Police Chief Ronald Banks, who is also black, said he did not fire Morse and suspend Darvish because of the color of their skin.
"I based my decision on their actions and what I thought their responsibility was. It was based purely on the facts," Banks said.
"I was shocked at not only the verdict but the size of the awards," he added. "It was somewhat ridiculous."
Last week, an attorney representing Darvish asked the Los Angeles County District Attorney to investigate Jackson for up to seven counts of perjury. Corey W. Glave claimed that Jackson gave inconsistent testimony as a "calculated, malicious effort of this young man to obstruct justice and mislead finders of fact", rather than because of his disabilities.
Defense attorney Paul Coble, representing Inglewood, said he will discuss with city officials to decide whether to appeal the jury's decision or ask a judge to overturn it.
"I respect the work the jurors did," Paul Coble told the Daily Breeze. "I do believe they missed the point, however."
"Donovan Jackson' Arrest" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)