Laurence Michael Powell
(born August 26, 1962) is a former Los Angeles Police
officer. He was one of the four officers involved in the beating of Rodney King
on March 3, 1991.
Powell graduated from Crescenta Valley High School
. He enrolled in the police academy and finished near the top of his class.
Rodney King incident and trial
On March 3, 1991, Powell and three other officers, Sgt. Stacey Koon
, Officer Theodore Briseno
, and Officer Timothy Wind
were videotaped repeatedly striking Rodney King
with their police batons in Lake View Terrace
. Officer Powell was partnered with Officer Wind at the time.
The Los Angeles District Attorney charged the four officers with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. A year later, after a change of venue from Los Angeles to Ventura
County, a jury of ten whites, one Asian and one Hispanic, acquitted the four officers of the assault charge, but deadlocked
on the excessive force charge for Powell. The verdict led to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
The four officers were later indicted on federal charges for violating Rodney King
's civil rights. Powell and Koon were convicted and were sentenced to 30 months in prison.