A jury awarded former Inglewood Police Officer Jeremy Morse and partner Officer Bijan Darvish $2.4 million Tuesday, finding that they were unfairly disciplined after the videotaped beating of a black teenager more than two years ago.
The officers had claimed in their lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that because they were white, they were punished more harshly than a black officer who struck the suspect with a flashlight but was not videotaped.
In their lawsuit, the officers charged that after the video images were shown on television, “a form of hysteria swept the mayor’s office and the chief of police.” Although an internal police investigation deemed that the amount of force used in the arrest was reasonable, “decisions were immediately made to terminate Morse because he had been caught on video perfecting an arrest of an African American and had used force.”
The officers claimed that a third officer, Willie Crook, was treated differently because he was black.
“Although Officer Crook was found to have used force by striking Jackson with his flashlight, and failed to report the use of force, he was simply suspended for four days without pay,” the lawsuit said.