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Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sports Briefing

Federal jury rules in favor of police in DuBose case

Two San Diego police officers acted reasonably when they shot and killed former NFL player Demetrius DuBose during a July 1999 confrontation, a federal jury ruled yesterday in San Diego.

After about 12 hours of deliberations, the 10-member U.S. District Court panel unanimously decided that officers Timothy Keating and Robert Wills had used justifiable actions against DuBose, a 1989 graduate of O'Dea High School in Seattle.

DuBose, 28, was shot 12 times, including five to his back, during the struggle with police outside an apartment in San Diego's Mission Beach neighborhood. Police said he lunged at them after taking an officer's nun-chucks, a martial-arts weapon made up of two hardwood sticks joined by a chain.

Officers said DuBose acted aggressively and appeared to be under the influence of a drug. An autopsy showed traces of the drug Ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol in his blood.

The district attorney's office declined to file criminal charges against the officers, and federal prosecutors found no evidence the police violated DuBose's civil rights.

Yesterday's decision came on a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Jacqueline DuBose-Wright, the mother of the former Tampa Bay linebacker, against the officers and the city.

There was a 15-day trial, and witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the confrontation, which came as officers investigated a burglary report.

Deputy City Attorney Frank Devaney called it "the correct verdict."

"The officers have been waiting for three and a half years to have their day in court and they had it," he said. "It's been hard on them since the beginning of this and they've gone through years of accusations, being called racists and being called murderers."

Brian Watkins, the lawyer representing DuBose-Wright, said he would explore an appeal.

"We're extremely disappointed," Watkins said. "But we knew it would be tough going up against the city and the police department."

DuBose played for Notre Dame from 1989 to 1992, where he was team captain and was named to the Football News All-America first team. He was a second-round draft pick of Tampa Bay in 1993 and played four seasons with the team.

• Philadelphia defensive end Derrick Burgess and running back Brian Westbrook underwent surgery on fractures.

Burgess had surgery on a broken bone in his right foot, and Westbrook had surgery to repair a fracture and ligaments in his right wrist.

Emmitt Smith's status with the Dallas Cowboys will remain in limbo for at least another week.

Smith and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had their long-awaited meeting to discuss whether the running back will return for a 14th season. Their only decision was to keep talking. Jones said they would meet again next week.

Golf

Television viewers were happy to see Tiger Woods back in action. So were TV executives.

Woods' return from Dec. 12 knee surgery delivered more than double the audience that the PGA Tour was averaging this season, with his four-stroke victory in the Buick Invitational on Sunday producing a 6.9 overnight rating on CBS. That is 92 percent higher than the 3.6 the tournament's final round drew in 2002, when Woods finished with a 66 to tie for fifth place behind Jose Maria Olazabal.

Woods missed the first five tournaments this season. None of those tournaments — three shown by CBS, two by ESPN — had a final-round rating higher than 3.5. The rating is the percentage of all homes with televisions. Overnight ratings measure the country's 55 largest TV markets, covering about 70 percent of the United States.

Tennis

Tim Henman was beaten in his first match since shoulder surgery in November, losing to Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Monica Seles defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Dubai Open.

Soccer

Barcelona beat Inter Milan of Italy 3-0 in Barcelona, Spain, for its record 11th straight UEFA Champions League win as Europe's top competition resumed after a 10-week break. Host Arsenal tied Ajax of Amsterdam 1-1 in London.

In other second group-phase matches, Newcastle of England celebrated Coach Bobby Robson's 70th birthday with a 3-1 road win over Germany's Bayer Leverkusen. Valencia of Spain beat AS Roma 1-0 in Rome.

• Gatorade signed Landon Donovan, a forward on the U.S. national team, to a four-year endorsement contract.

• FIFA President Sepp Blatter thinks Major League Soccer needs to emulate other top leagues around world.

"They should have their own stadia to use year-round," he said. "They should play at least nine months or 10 months like the other big federations."

Wrestling

Olympic champion Daniel Igali of Canada will have neck surgery tomorrow in Vancouver, B.C., to try to get ready for the 2004 Athens Games.

Olympics

The International Olympic Committee wants quick action but intends to stay clear of the U.S. Olympic Committee while it sorts out the turmoil that has shaken the organization.

"The crisis cannot continue for months, and the IOC is hopeful that it will be resolved soon," IOC President Jacques Rogge said.

— Times news services

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