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S. Korea police cleared in clash

February 10, 2009|Associated Press

SEOUL — Police were cleared of wrongdoing Monday in a clash with displaced tenants last month that left six people dead, but the man picked to become South Korea's top police officer withdrew his nomination today because of the incident.

Seoul Police Chief Kim Seok-ki, chosen by President Lee Myung-bak to head the National Police Agency, said at a news conference that he made the decision to withdraw to avoid further controversy.

On Monday, prosecutor Jeong Byeong-doo dismissed allegations against police, saying the confrontation was inevitable because the protest posed a danger to bystanders.

Investigators indicted 20 protesters and seven others over the Jan. 20 clash, which had set off criticism that police were careless or used excessive force in breaking up the protest. The displaced tenants were demanding better compensation from developers.

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