Jurors who will decide the fate of a Los Angeles policeman charged with murdering an unarmed tow truck driver were told Tuesday that the case is an aberration, not an indictment of all police officers.
"It's about one man who broke the law," Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathy Mader said in her closing argument. "Ninety-nine percent of the time the police and the district attorney's office work hand in glove. This case is an aberration."
Los Angeles Police Officer Douglas Jay Iversen, 44, is accused of shooting John Daniels, 36, at a gas station in South-Central Los Angeles on July 1, 1992, two months after the Los Angeles riots.
While the defense contends that Iversen shot Daniels to keep him from running down pedestrians, Mader argued that all eight eyewitnesses said pedestrians were never in danger.
"He was not able to get one witness to say they perceived anyone in danger," Mader said. "Under any possible construction, this shooting didn't make any sense. We don't shoot people to avoid traffic collisions."
It is the second time that Iversen has been tried. In October, another jury was unable to agree whether he should be convicted of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree murder and a mistrial was declared.
Iversen is the first law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County in more than a decade to be charged with murder while on duty.
The shooting occurred after Iversen and his partner, Officer Patrick Bradshaw, tried to check Daniels' tow truck operator's license at a gas station at Crenshaw Boulevard and Florence Avenue. Daniels refused to provide his license and tried to flee. Iversen attempted to pull Daniels out of the truck and then shot him, hitting Daniels in the arm and chest.