March 7, 2006

Calif. officer in taped shooting to face charge

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California sheriff's deputy,
whose videotaped shooting of an unarmed Iraq war veteran caused
a nationwide furor, will be charged with attempted
manslaughter, authorities said on Tuesday.

Ivory John Webb was taped in January shooting Elio Carrion
after a car chase in Chino, in San Bernardino County, about 45
miles east of Los Angeles.

The car crashed and Carrion, who was a passenger, is seen
apparently obeying the officer's commands to get up from the
ground when Webb shoots him three times.

Filmed by a bystander, the grainy amateur tape was passed
to local television channels and the story -- with its echoes
of the videotaped beating of Rodney King by police officers
that led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots -- became national news.

Webb, 45, has been on administrative leave since the
incident and could face 18 years in prison if convicted.

Carrion, 21, an Air Force security officer who had recently
returned from Iraq, is recovering from wounds to the chest,
shoulder and thigh.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos said
the videotape was crucial in the decision to charge Webb.

The deputy will not be charged with attempted murder.
Prosecutors concluded that Webb acted in fear for his safety
but that his fear was unreasonable, Ramos said.

The FBI has opened its own inquiry into possible civil
rights violations.

The driver of the car, Luis Escobedo, faces charges of
evading an officer and drunken driving. He and Webb were to be
arraigned on Wednesday.