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Long Beach : Jurors in Police Abuse Trial Polled Individually by Judge

March 21, 1991

In an unusual procedure, jurors in the trial of two former Long Beach police officers accused of police abuse were individually called in to the judge's chambers this week and polled on their knowledge of the Rodney King brutality case.

"We were concerned about all the publicity," explained Long Beach Municipal Court Judge James L. Wright.

King has practically become a household name since a homemade video showed his violent arrest earlier this month by Los Angeles police officers, who repeatedly struck and kicked him.

In the Long Beach case, former officer Mark Dickey is charged with assaulting activist Don Jackson by pushing him through a plate-glass window. An NBC camera crew videotaped the encounter, which was publicized nationally. Dickey and his former partner, Mark Ramsey, are also charged with falsifying a police report.

Jurors have been asked to refrain from watching television news or reading newspaper accounts about the Jackson trial or any other police abuse case, such as King's.

Judge Wright said he questioned the jurors Monday as a precautionary measure. "They all said they have been avoiding the news," Wright said. "Some are only watching videos. One guy said that he has his wife read the whole paper and tell him what to read. Another one said he just reads sports."

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