LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Los Angeles Police Department officer was convicted Friday of pistol-whipping a man with his gun two years ago outside an El Segundo bar while off-duty.
Joseph William Rooney, 34, was convicted of two felony assault counts, but was acquitted of charges involving two other men during the confrontation.
The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours before finding Rooney guilty in the May 22, 2016, confrontation in the 100 block of Main Street, along with allegations that he had personally used a handgun.
The downtown Los Angeles panel acquitted him of two counts of assault with a firearm involving the two other men.
Rooney — who testified in his own defense — described the confrontation as a “minor fight” in which he had his phone in his hand. He denied striking the victim with a gun or even having a gun with him.
He told jurors he “couldn’t believe what they were trying to allege what I did” when he was called in for questioning by El Segundo police about what he described as “honestly a 30-second dust-up.”
Rooney told jurors he has been on administrative leave from the LAPD for nearly two years.
The prosecutor told jurors that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the off-duty officer pointed a gun at the man and then pistol-whipped him in the face. The other two men also alleged that Rooney had pointed a gun at them.
Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy allowed Rooney to remain free on $200,000 bond while awaiting sentencing June 7.
It was not immediately clear what kind of sentence Rooney could face.
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