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LAGUNA BEACH : FBI Joins Probe of Officer's Use of Force

March 12, 1991|TOM McQUEENEY

The FBI has joined an investigation into whether a Laguna Beach police officer used excessive force while making an arrest that was videotaped by a resident last summer in South Laguna.

The FBI's focus is whether police violated the civil rights of Kevin Dunbar, 25, who alleges that a police officer kicked him in the face during the arrest, FBI spokesman Jim Neilson said Monday. While the investigation continues, the FBI will not release other information, Neilson said.

Laguna Beach Police Chief Neil J. Purcell said Monday that an FBI agent contacted the department's record office late last week seeking copies of the arrest report and the officer's report of the incident. That has been the only contact the FBI has made with the department, he said.

The FBI's investigation began Feb. 20, two months after the Orange County district attorney's office and the Laguna Beach Police Department began investigating the incident.

The police investigation began in December after Dunbar's attorney played a videotape to the news media showing a Laguna Beach police officer kicking at a man lying on a Coast Highway sidewalk.

The two-minute tape does not show if the kicks struck Dunbar, who is initially hidden behind a police car and surrounded by three other uniformed officers, but on the tape Dunbar's face appears bloody under his right eye after police lifted him to his feet.

The district attorney and police department investigations are expected to be completed this month, officials said.

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