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Malik King never thought he would be facing seven years in prison. As a vocational nurse since the age of 19 and a registered nurse since he was 22, the 27-year-old San Diego resident lives the American dream: he drives a nice car, lives in a good neighborhood and goes away on exotic vacations to places like Japan and the Philippines.
On March 9, 2011, King was confronted by California Highway Police as he was driving on the 5 freeway passing through Santa Ana. King was on his way to Venice Beach during the afternoon when police rammed his Mercedes SUV he had just purchased a few months prior. He says officers directed a K-9 dog to attack him in his car. He said he was then tased, beaten and hogtied by police. Police thought the car he was driving was stolen, King said. When police had found out they had made a mistake, he said, charges were filed against him that he says are false.
According to the OC Vision Courts website, King has been charged by the Orange County District Attorney with evading a peace officer/reckless driving, assault with a weapon not a firearm on a peace officer/firefighter, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs and harming an officer’s horse or dog.
When he was told authorities told him they were having trouble getting a copy of the dashboard videos from the police cars, he requested to view the video himself. He brought in his camcorder and tripod to film the video. He said he did it as protection for himself as he was skeptical that he would get a physical copy of the video. King said he posted the video on youtube after he was told the original was destroyed.
The video King took of the viewing of the police dashboard footage can be seen below.
King said when it became clear that police officers were trying to pull him over, it was only moments before a police car started to hit its front bumper into his front door.
“When they started to hit me with their car, I was afraid and confused,” he said. “Prior to that, I was trying to pull over to a well-populated area. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Then – boom. They just start hitting me. I don’t know what I could have done at that point.”
King said he had put his arms up as a gesture of surrendering to the police.
“I was scared and I didn’t want to get shot, so I instinctively put my arms up,” he said. “The officer didn’t say anything like ‘Come out with your hands up!’ or ‘Freeze!’ like they do in the movies. The first thing he says is ‘the dog!'”
King said a K-9 dog was thrown into his vehicle through the back door. The dog came from behind and attacked him, he said, biting his right arm as an officer tased him from the back while the dog was still on top of him.
“If I did not have my hands up, the taser shot may have well hit my face,” he said. “My inner left bicep where the electrical scar is lines up perfectly with my face when I hold up my arm.”
He said the K-9 dog attack lasted for one minute and thirty seconds until another officer came to his front door and he was tased again with the dog still on top of him.
“My jacket with leather sleeves and wool body jacket saved my life,” he said. “I feel lucky to be alive. If I was wearing a t-shirt, I could have bled to death.”
King said he was yanked out of the car, tased once more and beaten, kicked and hogtied. During the point in the video where King alleges the police beat him, he can be heard yelling “help!”
He was taken to jail and unable to use the phone to contact his relatives, he said. His family reported him missing until he was finally able to reach them a few days later. Once he found out about the misdemeanor and felony charges along with $50,000 bail, King said, he felt as if it was an insult to injury.
“I could have died,” he said. “I can see if I had a gun or tried to get out and run but for me to sit there with my hands up with my seatbelt on, what they did to me was excessive force.”
King’s next court date is at the end of January. While he is unsure how or if his video will make it into his case, he said he wanted to show his side of the story publicly to gather support and prove his innocence.
“I am facing seven years in jail,” he said. “I want to let others know what happened to me. The fact this is still going on in 2011, exactly ten years after the Rodney King beating, is tragic. I want to make sure what happened to me never happens to anyone again.”