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09-29-07, 12:42 PM #1
L.A. officer resigns in wake of charges
Officer was videotaped apparently applying a chokehold to a handcuffed teen inside police station. Under a plea deal, he will leave the department but not serve time in jail.
By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 29, 2007
A Los Angeles police officer caught on videotape apparently applying a chokehold to a handcuffed 16-year-old boy inside the Central Division station agreed Friday to resign from the department immediately in a deal that allows him to avoid time behind bars.
Sean Joseph Meade, 42, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin to three years' summary probation, 200 hours of community service and an anger management course, which the officer has already completed, district attorney's office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
Meade pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of fighting.
"Under this disposition he resigned from the LAPD this morning," Gibbons said.
An attorney for Meade could not be reached for comment.
Meade, a 14-year veteran, had faced charges of felony assault by a public officer and filing a false police report. The December 2006 incident was caught on videotape by a hidden camera that had been installed after some chairs at the station had been vandalized.
The videotape appears to show Meade locking the teenager's neck in a chokehold for several seconds, according to sources in the department who have viewed it.
Moments later, Meade allegedly removes the boy's handcuffs and challenges him to a fight, say the sources, who spoke on condition that they not be named.
Police Chief William J. Bratton ordered the officer's immediate arrest, saying the attack was "without any physical provocation" and something the LAPD would not condone or tolerate.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the time called it a "grave violation of the trust we place in law enforcement and an insult to the values of the brave men and women of the LAPD who put their lives on the line to keep us safe."
The teen had been arrested on suspicion of a curfew violation in Chinatown after he was seen walking with a teenage girl. LAPD officers questioned them, officials said. The officers called the girl's parents, who picked her up. The boy was arrested.
Meade allegedly attacked the boy in the juvenile holding room that faces out to the detective room, where the camera was positioned. The sources said the grainy video shows the alleged chokehold. Then commotion occurs off camera. The video lacks audio, so it is unclear whether a verbal altercation sparked the alleged attack. Another officer in the area heard the disturbance and reported it to his commander. That sparked an internal affairs investigation.
Officers were unaware that the hidden camera had been set up in the detective room.Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
[George Washington (1732 - 1799)]
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