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Despite Opposition, Figure in King Case Hired for Police Job : Law enforcement: Council approves appointment of Timothy E. Wind to the civilian position of community service officer in Culver City.

October 12, 1994|MARY MOORE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One resident condemned it as "a slap in the city's face." Another called it "shoddy." But despite visceral opposition, Culver City this week hired Timothy E. Wind, a former defendant in the Rodney G. King case, as a community service officer on its police force.

City Council members late Monday unanimously endorsed the Aug. 23 decision by Police Chief Ted Cooke to appoint Wind to the civilian post, pointing out that Wind was acquitted in the King beating and arguing that the judicial system should not be second-guessed.

About a dozen people in the audience expressed support for Wind, while two dozen others cheered loudly at the suggestion by one of their speakers that Wind be fired immediately.

"Judge Tim Wind for the job he does for Culver City," said one Wind supporter, Theodore Smith III, a Culver City resident and deputy Los Angeles city attorney. "If he fails, then fire him."

From his wheelchair, Morris Dodd said he has gathered more than 100 signatures on a petition favoring Wind.

"If he was protecting my life, I'd feel very comfortable," Dodd said.

On the other side, resident David Hauptman complained that Wind's hiring was a blow to the notion of "respect of all groups in this city."

Wind, 34, was a rookie officer at the time of the King beating in 1991. The Los Angeles Police Department fired him, finding that he unnecessarily struck King with a baton. He was acquitted of criminal charges in two trials and cleared of wrongdoing in King's civil lawsuit.

The Culver City Council voted unanimously to support Cooke's decision to appoint Wind, with some members complaining that a routine hiring decision had been turned into a political issue.

"What I hear is that you want to be the judge and the jury--well it's too late," Councilman Mike Balkman said to opponents at Monday's meeting.

City officials released a statement last week that described Wind's $9.52-per-hour position as a clerical job performed at a desk.

However, the full description of a community service officer's duties shows that Wind could have substantial contact with the public. The job includes crowd control and security checks for parks, schools and neighborhoods, issuing subpoenas and investigating minor incidents. The job description also states that community service officers must be able to deal tactfully and effectively with people, and to analyze problems and find solutions.

Many community service officers have gone on to positions on Culver City's armed and sworn police force, a point that opponents of Wind's hiring raised Monday.

"I suggest that Mr. Wind pursue a job that suits his personality more," said Culver City resident Margaret Lindgren, a member of the Committee to Remove Timothy Wind.

The opposition probably will now pursue the creation of a civilian review board to oversee decisions made by the Police Department, one leader said.

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