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L.A. OFFICER MOCKED KING IN HOSPITAL BED, NURSE SAYS

As Rodney King lay on an emergency room bed after a police beating, one officer taunted him, saying, "We had a pretty good hardball game tonight," a nurse testified Friday.

Lawrence Davis, who attended King at Pacifica Hospital, told jurors in the assault trial of four officers that one of them, Laurence Powell, made the remarks.Davis testified that Powell also said, "We hit quite a few home runs," after King said he worked as an usher at Dodger Stadium.

Powell is one of four white officers accused of beating King, who is black, after a March 3, 1991, traffic stop. The incident, videotaped by a bystander, provoked a national outrage when it was broadcast widely on television.

The prosecution maintains that Powell clubbed King in the head repeatedly, wielding his baton with a baseball player's swing.

Davis testified that another defendant, Officer Timothy Wind, was present when Powell made his remarks to King. Although Wind didn't speak, Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg said his silence could be interpreted as agreement with Powell.

Wind's lawyer, Paul DePasquale, called the comments "banter" and "gallows humor."

Powell, 29, Wind, 31, Officer Theodore Briseno, 39, and Sgt. Stacey Koon, 41, are charged with assault. They face four to eight years in prison if convicted.

Upon hearing of King's job as an usher, Davis testified, Powell said he hoped King would never have to usher him at a game.

Deputy District Attorney Terry White showed Davis his grand jury testimony to refresh his memory, and Davis recalled another statement.

"Mr. Powell said, `And you lost the ballgame, didn't you?"' he testified.