KING PASSENGER'S STORY GAINS NEW SIGNIFICANCE

Associated Press
Section: MAIN,  Page: A8

Date: Tuesday, May 5, 1992

The testimony of a passenger in Rodney King's car that he, too, was beaten by police takes on new significance since the acquittal of four officers.


Bryant Allen testified during the officers' trial that he was "kicked and stomped" as he lay on the ground outside King's car, but neither the defense nor prosecutors followed up on his brief statement. On Monday's "Montel Williams Show," a syndicated television talk show, Bryant said: "I was stomped once and I was kicked twice."


He was not available for comment later Monday.


On the show, he said he told police and prosecutors what happened to him soon after the March 3, 1991, videotaped beating of King. Bryant, 26, also filed a civil rights lawsuit last year, saying he was roughed up.


But his recollection took on new significance after the officers were acquitted last week of beating King, sparking rioting in Los Angeles.


At least one juror said the panel voted to acquit the white officers because King, who is black, resisted arrest.


The jurors reasoned that Allen and a second passenger, Freddie George Helms, were not harmed because they obeyed police orders after they were stopped.


Helms, who made similar allegations in a lawsuit, later was killed in a traffic accident.


Allen is suing city and California Highway Patrol officials and 17 Los Angeles police officers, including the four officers.


Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., called on federal officials to re- examine the videotape showing King being struck and kicked repeatedly to determine whether blurred activity on the other side of the stopped car was Allen being kicked as Williams said.


Allen's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


Allen said he was face down behind the back right tire of King's car when he was beaten.


He said the attack ended after a female officer told her colleague to stop.


Allen's comments follow questions from legal experts around the country on why King did not testify at his trial, and why Allen's testimony was not pursued.