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L.A. Cops Use Batons Far Less Often

Police officers used the once-popular baton a lot less often after the Rodney King beating.

Batons were used in just 41 arrests last year - a 92 percent drop from 1990, when batons were used 501 times against suspects resisting arrest, according to police figures reported Sunday by the Daily News.

On March 3, 1991, baton-wielding officers were videotaped beating King after he led them on a chase. Two officers were convicted of violating King’s civil rights and a jury awarded him $3.8 million.

Some say the drop in baton use reflects a fear among officers that they could be fired or sued - even jailed - for using them.

“I know officers that won’t even take it out of their car. They’re afraid to use it,” said Dennis Zine of the police officers’ union. “The poor cops on the street are saying, ‘you haven’t given us anything we feel confident in to do your job.”’