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D.A. to Retry Officer in Videotaped Beating

Aired July 30, 2003 - 19:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, one day after a jury deadlocked in the case of an officer videotaped roughing up a teenager in Inglewood, California, CNN has confirmed that prosecutors have decided to try him again.
We are just learning the details this decision now. They're just coming in to CNN.

CNN's Dan Lothian is in Los Angeles with the latest details -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is a bit surprising because yesterday a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office mentioned -- the district attorney's office mentioned that they would have to take some time to review this case, to perhaps even look at additional evidence, before they would decide whether or not to retry this case.

And indeed, as you mentioned, one day after this case wrapped up, they have decided to retry this case.

This is after the jury reached a hung or a non-verdict, a hung jury, in the case against Jeremy Morse. He is the officer, the former Inglewood police officer caught on videotape slamming then 16-year-old Donovan Jackson onto the back of a patrol car.

His partner, Bijan Darvish, was found not guilty for filing a false police report.

Now in making that decision the district attorney, Steve Cooley, said, quote, "It is important for the community that this case be resolved."

He went on to say that "the community has set a national example of restraint and good citizenship in light of this case and we can do nothing less than assure this former police officer is judged in a court of law by a jury selected from the community where this occurred."

Ever since the beating was captured on videotape, this case has been very controversial, but community leaders have been calling for people in the community of Inglewood and surrounding in Los Angeles to remain calm.

Now at today's announcement the community activist Najee Ali told CNN that this is exactly what we hoped for and prayed for. Cooley, he said, showed courage and conviction in deciding to retry and he said he didn't -- in his words -- "he didn't bow to the wishes of law enforcement."

Now just a few minutes ago I got off the phone with Jeremy Morse's attorney, and he told me this news of this case being retried is, in his words, "unwelcome but not unanticipated." He said not unanticipated, he said because of the nature of this case. He said he had not yet had a chance to talk to his client.

Yesterday he had mentioned that he wanted to talk to the judge, to try to have this case dismissed and he told me just a few minutes ago that he does plan to continue with that.

Now, the district attorney said that he does not want to wait until the end of next month to move forward with this new trial. In his words, he said, there is no reason to wait. The evidence is there. The witnesses are ready -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Dan, thanks for the new information.

Now, the same jury that deadlocked on Jeremy Morse voted to acquit Morse's partner, Bijan Darvish, on the charge of filing a false report. And Officer Darvish's lawyer, Ron Broward, joins us now from Anaheim.

Ron, thanks for being with us. First of all, how is your client doing?

RON BROWARD, ATTORNEY FOR BIJAN DARVISH: My client is doing a lot better today than he was yesterday before the verdict was announced.

COOPER: Are you surprised? I mean, as you look at this case, my understanding is prosecution didn't even come up with any witnesses to testify against your client. Were you surprised by that?

BROWARD: I was very surprised by that development. They presented a lot of witnesses. They relied exclusively, however, with my client, on the film and tried to contrast that with the report that he wrote. And they did it unsuccessfully. I was surprised.

There were some witnesses who testified about use of force who also gave some information about report writing, which was very favorable to my client.

COOPER: Well, what do you...

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