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SERGEANT SAYS KING BEATING WAS WORST HE'D EVER SEEN

The Los Angeles police sergeant who directed the beating of motorist Rodney King said the incident was the most violent use of force he had ever seen during his tenure as a law enforcement officer.

But Sgt. Stacey Koon, completing two days on the witness stand Friday, maintained that the incident in which officers repeatedly kicked and clubbed King with nightsticks was justified and within Los Angeles Police Department guidelines."In all your years of experience, have you ever seen a worse beating applied by an officer?" Deputy District Attorney Alan Yochelson asked as he wrapped up his cross-examination of Koon, who has been a policeman since 1977.

"I've seen uses of force of considerable violence but I have never seen anything as violent as this . . . in my 141/2 years," Koon replied. "No, sir."

During one exchange, a response from Koon prompted courtroom spectators to gasp when he said King's body was a "weapon."

When asked by Yochelson whether he believed King had a weapon, Koon replied, "Yes, that was his body."

Koon, who was the highest-ranking officer on the scene the morning of March 3, 1991, said he directed his officers to use their batons and to kick King when he continued to resist arrest. Koon maintains that King charged at officers and tried at least seven times to rise up after officers forced him to the ground.

Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Terry White asked Judge Stanley Weisberg to allow questions pertaining to the purported "code of silence" that many believe exists among officers and prevents them from testifying truthfully about their colleagues.

For Koon's defense, his attorney Darryl Mounger planned to call to the stand more than one dozen Los Angeles police officers who witnessed all or part of the beating.