Man Shown on Tape Being Beaten by Los Angeles Officers Denies He
Had Wire Cutters
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - A black man beaten by police during a videotaped arrest
denied that he was carrying wire cutters that were mistaken for a
gun, as one officer reportedly contended.
Suspected car thief Stanley Miller told his lawyer Monday that he
wasn't carrying any metal objects when he was struck 11 times with a
flashlight as he lay on the ground after a chase last week, the Los
Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
"If (police) came up with something, the information I'm getting is
they either planted it on him or they're making it up," attorney Mark
Werksman said after a jailhouse interview with Miller.
Werksman said Miller told him he was wearing sweat pants with loose
pockets that would not hold his possessions, so he had his cell phone
in one hand and $8 in cash in the other as he ran.
According to an account in the Times last week, John J. Hatfield, the
officer who kicked Miller and struck him with the flashlight, told
investigators he was trying to stun Miller after another officer,
trying to handcuff Miller, felt a metal object in Miller's pants and
yelled "gun." The object turned out to be wire cutters, the Times
said, citing unidentified sources.
The confrontation has inflamed tensions in the city and prompted
local and federal investigations. The case has been compared to the
1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King, which resulted in riots after
four white officers were acquitted of state charges.
Police Chief William Bratton has not made any comment on whether
Miller was carrying anything. Hatfield has declined to publicly
discuss the incident.
Police said they spotted Miller running a stop sign in South Los
Angeles last Wednesday and found that the car he was driving had been
reported stolen. A nearly 30-minute car chase ended with a foot chase
News helicopters showed Miller with his hands in the air and
appearing to surrender at gunpoint when he was tackled by an officer.
He was on the ground when Hatfield kicked and then hit him.
The eight officers involved in Miller's arrest have been placed on
administrative duty, and three will be investigated for possible use
of excessive force.
On Monday, Bratton met with the Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the
beating. The chief and the civil rights activists said they were
making progress toward cooling racial tensions.
"Clearly, many of us around the country are outraged at what we saw
in the video," Sharpton said. "But the outrage must lead to results
where the citizens and police are protected."
Miller has a criminal record dating back to 1994 that includes car
theft and forgery, records show. He was paroled in February after
being convicted of trying to escape custody.
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Miller remained in custody pending a parole violation hearing. He was
expected to be charged with car theft, said Jane Robison, a
spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.