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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jury Watches Cop Bashing Handcuffed War Vet

Jury watches video of Housing Officer David London bashing handcuffed Iraq war veteran
The New York Daily News by Oren Yaniv - June 19, 2010

Nobody disputes that the disturbing surveillance video screened for a Manhattan criminal jury Friday shows a housing cop bashing an Iraq war veteran with his baton. The question is whether Housing Officer David London, 45, was committing an act of police brutality or using necessary force to subdue an aggressive suspect. Prosecutors called London's beating of 28-year-old Walter Harvin in July 2008 an assault that the cop tried to cover up. But the defense insisted London's response was appropriate. In the video, captured on security cameras at the upper West Side housing project where Harvin's mother lived, Harvin is seen shoving and scuffling with London, who then beat the ex-soldier even after he was cuffed. The video is the main evidence in the case because Harvin, who returned from Iraq two weeks before the incident and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome, has vanished. "He keeps hitting Mr. Harvin," assistant DA David Drucker said of the moment when the victim cowers on the floor as London keeps clubbing him. "If it was a boxing match, you'd step in and stop the fight." London then tried "to cover up his misconduct," Drucker claimed, by falsely signing a criminal complaint charging Harvin with two counts of assault. Defense lawyer Stephen Worth said Harvin was resisting and that if the tape had audio, jurors would have heard him threaten to kill the cop. "This is a use of necessary force," Worth said. "Officer London strikes him until he gets compliance." oyaniv@nydailynews.com

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