Cop’s lawyer claims hitting an Iraq veteran 20 times was ‘too little’ force

By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, June 26, 2010 15:45 EDT
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An attorney representing a police officer caught on tape almost two years ago viciously assaulting an Iraq war veteran suggested in court recently that his client had, perhaps out of “compassion,” used “too little” force against the unarmed man lying on the ground before him in video released online.

The officer had alleged that Iraq veteran Walter Harvin was acting in an aggressive manner while trying to enter his mother’s building on 93rd Street in Manhattan. Surveillance footage released by the district attorney’s office shows Officer David London attack the man with his baton, hitting him repeatedly until he falls, then continuing to strike blows to Harvin’s face, head and upper-body. By most media estimates, the unarmed war vet was struck some 20 times while on the ground.

Harvin’s most aggressive action in the recording is to shove London away at one point. Officers claimed he was shouting threats and cursing at them while laying on the ground in handcuffs, which attorneys suggest justifies the continued beating Harvin received even as he lay restrained on the ground.

According to The New York Post, lawyer Stephen Worth asked the jury if the officer’s level of force was excessive, to which he added:

“I suggest to you that out of compassion, he used too little.”

The New York Daily News added:

Harvin’s uncle, Earl Jones, stormed out of court in disgust when the video was shown. “You don’t beat a dog like that,” Jones, 55, said. “The public should see it. They need to see so they can be aware how cops treat people.”

London is charged with lying on paperwork in claiming the victim struck first, and felony assault. Harvin, who allegedly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has not made an appearance at the trial.

This video is from the New York Daily News.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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