California Case Offers Different Views of Racism


Jun 10, 2002
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California Case Offers Different Views of Racism
By Susan Jones Morning Editor
July 18, 2002

( - A white police officer who slammed a handcuffed black teenager onto the hood of a car and punched him in the face is expected to surrender Thursday on felony assault charges. A grand jury handed down the indictment Wednesday afternoon.

Inglewood, Calif., Police Officer Jeremy Morse will plead not guilty, his attorney said. "My client believes that an impartial jury will find that the use of force was necessary and he will be acquitted," wire reports quoted Attorney John Barnett as saying.

Officer Morse said he forcefully subdued the 16-year-old suspect after the handcuffed teenager grabbed Morse's crotch, something that was not captured on the videotape that has turned this case into a national spectacle.

Morse's partner, Officer Bijan Davish, also is expected to surrender Thursday on charges of filing a false police report.

The rough treatment of the handcuffed 16-year-old, captured on videotape two weeks ago, has once again raised racism allegations against police. But those accusations cut both ways.

While some people accuse police of routinely violating black Americans' civil rights, others say the civil rights crowd bears much of the blame.

Officer Morse's stepfather says Jeremy isn't the racist. "The racism is coming from officials from the city of Inglewood," Roger Pettit said in a television interview Wednesday.

A black radio talk show host who routinely criticizes various civil rights leaders agrees that the real racists are those who scream the loudest about racism.

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of a group called Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny, blames black leaders such as Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Jesse Jackson for turning black youth against authority, particularly police.

"These problem profiteers can gather a group of angry blacks in less than an hour to hate the white man and incite a riot, but not to stand up for the reported13 million black babies that have been killed in the back woman's womb.

"You won't hear black leaders shouting about black-on-black crime being out of control, that the public schools have been dumbing down inner-city children so that they can barely read and write, or that the black community is ravaged with AIDS."

Peterson - a fierce critic of the NAACP - accuses black leaders of pursing power and wealth at great cost to the black community.

The 16-year-old suspect at the center of the abuse case has sued the city of Inglewood, four police officers, Los Angeles County and three sheriff's deputies for misconduct and violating his constitutional rights.

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