Former LAPD Sgt. Stacey Koon—who served time in prison in connection with the videotaped beating of Black motorist Rodney King—pleaded not guilty this week to two misdemeanor DUI counts stemming from his arrest about two months ago in the Castaic area.
Koon, 67, is facing one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content. An Oct. 3 pretrial hearing was scheduled.
Koon crashed his 1999 GMC Yukon into a parked 2004 Ford Super Duty pickup truck on Heather Lane, west of Greenwood Place, on May 1. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, then booked at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Santa Clarita Valley station and released.
Koon was charged, along with LAPD Officers Laurence Powell, Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind, with using excessive force in the 1991 beating and arrest of King in Lake View Terrace, a confrontation that received worldwide publicity after footage videotaped by a nearby resident was broadcast on newscasts.
After Koon, who was the supervising officer at the scene, and the three officers were acquitted in 1992 following a trial that was moved to Simi Valley, the city of Los Angeles exploded in violence that spread to Pasadena and other parts of the Southland. More than 60 people were killed, 2,000 were injured and more than 1,000 buildings were destroyed in fires over a six-day period. The National Guard was called in to help restore order.
Koon and the officers were subsequently indicted that same year on federal civil rights charges, and he and Powell were convicted and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
The rage in the black community toward the LAPD was long-simmering and far from being limited to the King beating, dating back to well before the 1965 Watts riots, which were also fueled by allegations of racism and brutality against the department.