A campaign has officially begun to have voters remove Police Chief Daryl Gates from office over the savage beating of a black motorist by a group of white cops.
But an inadvertent legal glitch discovered late Thursday forced recall supporters to serve Gates a second time in order to comply with city law.The voter recall began a new phase in community efforts to exact retribution for the police beating of Rodney King, who was kicked and clubbed nearly to death March 3.
The beating was videotaped by an onlooker and has appeared on television around the world. Gates himself said he counted 56 blows from the officers' nightsticks. Three officers and a sergeant have been indicted on criminal charges in the case.
Meanwhile, police officials said Thursday that toxicology test show that King had small amounts of alcohol and marijuana in his system on the night of the attack. However, Lt. Fred Nixon said police were not suggesting that "Mr. King . . . somehow solicited the beating."
King's attorney, Steven Lerman, called release of the toxicology report outragous and a red herring designed to relieve some of the pressure building on the police.
"This case is not about drinking some beer, it's about the senseless beating and attempted murder of Mr. King by city police officers," Lerman said.
Bryant Allen, one of two other men in the car with King that night admitted in an interview published Thursday in The New York Times that the trio had each had a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor and that King acted oddly after discovering he was being tailed by a highway patrol car.
Allen said he also was beaten with a baton and forced to "creep" on hands and knees while handcuffed. He filed a federal civil rights suit Thursday against the department and all officers allegedly involved, alleging use of excessive force, false imprisonment and bodily injury.