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FBI investigates violent arrest by L.A. police

Published November 10, 2006


The FBI opened an investigation Thursday into video footage of a Los Angeles police officer repeatedly striking a suspect in the face during a struggle on a Hollywood street. Federal investigators initiated a civil rights inquiry after the video from the 3-month-old incident came to the bureau's attention Thursday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. The footage shows two officers holding down William Cardenas, 24, on a sidewalk as one punches him several times in the face before they are able to handcuff him. The suspect yells, "I can't breathe!" The Police Department has begun its own criminal and administrative investigations into the officers' use of force during the Aug. 11 arrest, said Lt. Paul Vernon, a police spokesman. The officers were identified as Alexander Schlegel and Patrick Farrell, and both have been reassigned to administrative work. "There's no denying that the video is disturbing," Chief William Bratton said at a news conference. "But as to whether the actions of the officers were appropriate in light of what they were experiencing and the totality of the circumstances is what the investigation will determine."

1 dead, 1 missing after train derails

A maintenance train loaded with thousands of gallons of diesel and hydraulic fuel derailed in the mountains east of Sacramento on Thursday, killing one person, injuring several others and sparking a fire in the heavily forested area. "This is a huge spill," said Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "That is a lot of hazardous materials." Authorities confirmed that one person was killed but did not provide any details. Eight others had minor injuries, while another was missing. The Union Pacific maintenance crew was working on the tracks about 60 miles east of the state capital when the train derailed about 11 a.m. The cause of the derailment was unclear late Thursday.

Retired sergeant charged in '85 case

A retired Army master sergeant who was recalled to active duty so the military could investigate him in a 1985 triple slaying was charged Thursday with murder and rape in the deaths of an Air Force captain's wife and daughters. Timothy B. Hennis, 48, was charged with three counts of premeditated murder and one of rape. Hennis was convicted in 1986 in North Carolina state court of killing Kathryn Eastburn and her two daughters, Erin, 3, and Kara, 5, on May 9, 1985, and sentenced to death. The state Supreme Court granted him the new trial in 1989, and he was acquitted. The military recalled Hennis to duty Oct. 30 after prosecutors gave new DNA evidence to military officials.

Official: Overturn murder conviction

A state court official has recommended reversing the murder conviction of a former Black Panther who has been held at Louisiana's state penitentiary since the 1970s. Activists have fought for years for a new trial for Herman Wallace, who was sent to the state prison at Angola after an armed robbery conviction, then found guilty of stabbing to death a guard in 1972. Rachel Morgan, a court commissioner in the case, recommended reversing the conviction. It was not clear when state District Judge Michael Irwin would make a decision.


[Last modified November 10, 2006, 01:52:32]

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