Two officers charged in the Rodney King beating said they were defending themselves against "his hostile charge" in an arrest report written before they knew they had been videotaped.
In the five-page report filed shortly after the March 3 incident, officers Laurence Powell and Timothy Wind say they used their batons to strike King "several times in the arm and legs to incapacitate him."In the videotape shot by an amateur photographer from a nearby apartment balcony, King is struck more than 50 times by the two officers and is also kicked in the head by a third officer, Ted Briseno.
"It's a cover-up and it's disturbing," Deputy District Attorney Timony White, who is prosecuting the criminal case against the officers, told the Los Angeles Times. "When you read this report and then see the video, you realize they're talking about two different incidents."
The three officers and their supervisor, Sgt. Stacey Koon, have been indicted on felony assault charges in connection with the beating. Koon and Powell are also charged with filing a false police report about it.
The videotaped beating has been broadcast internationally and has sparked widespread questioning of police tactics, a federal review of brutality claims and, some say, an erosion of public trust in the police. The incident has also sparked calls for the resignation of Police Chief Daryl Gates.
In the Powell-Wind report, the two officers say that King, a 25-year-old parolee, followed orders to lie on the ground only after repeated orders and then started to rise up as an officer approached to handcuff him.
"I placed my knee on his back to prevent this movement. (Defendant) continued to try and rise up, causing me to lose my balance and fall off. (Defendant) started to turn and charge toward me," the report states. "I backed away and Sgt. Koon fired a taser at (defendant) striking him in the back and temporarily halting (defendant's) attack."
The report continues that King "recovered almost immediately (from being stunned by the electronic taser) and resumed his hostile charge in our direction. Officer Wind and I drew our batons to defend against (defendant's) attack and struck him several times in the arm and legs to incapacitate him.
"(Defendant) continued resisting, kicking and swinging his arms at us. We finally knocked (defendant) down and he was subdued by several officers using the swarm technique."
The swarm technique is a police practice in which a group of officers surrounds unruly suspects and wrestle them to the ground.
King, whose injuries from the beating included 11 skull fractures, has denied he resisted arrest.