By a 6-3 vote, the City Council voted this week not to pay for the legal defense of two Long Beach police officers facing misdemeanor criminal charges in their arrest of anti-brutality activist Don Jackson.
The vote confirms a decision made by the council in closed session last week. Although the city has in the past paid for the criminal defense of police officers, council members said they were not prepared at this time to pick up the legal tab for officers Mark Dickey and Mark Ramsey. The council noted that an investigation of the officers is pending.
Dickey and Ramsey have been charged with falsifying their arrest report on Jackson, and Dickey has also been charged with assaulting the activist, who was stopped by the officers during a sting operation secretly filmed by a television crew. On the videotape, which was nationally broadcast, Dickey appears to push Jackson into a plate glass window, which shattered.
Councilmen Warren Harwood, Wallace Edgerton and Jeffrey A. Kellogg all voted to pay for the officers' legal defense. "It's a matter of providing a defense for an employee charged in an act of duty," Harwood said later.
Becky Bishop, the wife of a Long Beach police officer, presented the council with a petition signed by more than 200 residents urging the city to defend the pair. "What kind of message is this going to give police officers?" she asked after the council vote.