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Rodney King

In: Historical Events

Submitted By llb784
Words 1021
Pages 5
Lateisha Barnes
Professor Dana Klar
SW 24000
September 21, 2011

Rodney Glen King was born April 2, 1965 in Sacramento, California. He was born the second of five children to his mother, Odessa King and father, Ronald King. Rodney grew up in Pasadena, California, where his father worked in maintenance and construction. His father was an alcoholic and died at the age 42. Rodney King wasn’t the brightest and during this time a lot of blacks weren’t bright. King had gotten held back a grade in high school and was delimited to special education classes. School wasn’t going as he planned so he later dropped out of school in 1984. King had gotten married twice. Danetta was his first wife whom he later divorced after consuming three children with. Then he later married Crystal Waters, who had two children of her own. Their relationship became overwhelming which lead to another divorce. He is now married to Cynthia Kelley, who was a juror in the civil suit he brought against the City of Los Angeles for a beaten he had taken that he is known allegedly known for.
On March 2, 1991, King was driving on Interstate 210 in San Fernando Valley located in Los Angeles along with two passengers, Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms. King, Allen, and Helms had just left drinking at a friend house in L.A. King had been pursued by Officer Tim and Melanie Singer, a married team of the California Highway Patrol, for speeding. King refused to pull the car over because a DUI would violate his parole for a previous robbery conviction. Several police cars and a helicopter had joined the pursuit, officers cornered King’s car. Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Rolando Solano were the first five LAPD officers to arrive at the scene.
King, Allen, and Helms were ordered by Officer Tim Singer to exit the vehicle and lie face down on the ground. Allen and Helms obeyed and were taken in to custody. King had remained in the car for a while before exiting. When he did exit the car, he started strangely and waving at the helicopters. He then grabbed his buttocks. The officer thought he was reaching for a gun. So she drew her gun and pointed at him, ordering him to lie down. He did just that. Officers Briseno, Powell, Solano, and Wind went to try to arrest him but King physically resisted, tossing the officers of his back. Koon ordered the officers to stand clear and then fired a Taser into King’s back. King fell to his knees and rose up again. Koon had struck him again with the Taser, knocking King to the ground. King rose again and began to walk towards Powell. Powell struck King in the head with his baton. King fell to the ground immediately. Powell struck him again several times. King managed to rise again, causing Koon to ordered Officer Wind to join Powell in hitting King with power strokes to his wrists, joints, elbows, knees and ankles. They started to physically abuse him, by continuing hitting King while he was on the ground. After 56 batons blows and six kicks, the officers hovered in to place King in handcuffs and cord cuffs around his arms and legs. They dragged him to the side of the road until the ambulance arrived. All of this was caught on tape by an unseen citizen by the name of George Holliday.
George Holliday caught the beating on tape from his local apartment. He contacted the police about the videotape, but they dismissed it. So he took matters into his own hands and contacted KTLA television about the videotape. KTLA broadcast it on air and it had been noticed by the public. This video had been shown all around the world to thousands of people. This footage turned out to be one widely watched video and talked about incidents of its kind.
King had been taking to the hospital where he suffered a broken right ankle, fractured facial bone, and numerous of bruises from the incident. While officers Koon, Briseno, Powell, and Wind were charged with excessive force. On April 29, 1992, the jury acquitted three of the officers and Powell charge stuck. The acquittal news halted the L.A. riots of 1992. On May 1, 1992 King had appeared before television news cameras and asks the following:
“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids? It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not; it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice....They won the battle, but they haven't won the war....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.”
On March 9, 1993, King went to trial in a federal case against LAPD and told his side of the story about the brutality of his body. The jury found Officer Powell and Sergeant Koon guilty and were to serve 30 months in prison, while Wind and Briseno were acquitted of all charges. Later, King was awarded $3.8 million in a civil case. He used some of the money to start Straight Alta-Pazz Recording Company, a hip-hop music label. Although King suffered throughout his life due to this incident, it’s the same incident that made him a well-known African American, who made history because of a private citizen in his apartment window that happens to be at the right place, at the right time.

Work Cited “Rodney King.” 19 Sept. 2011. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King>. “Rodney King Biography.” A&E Television Networks, 2011. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/articles/Rodney-King-9542141. Thompson, Elise. “Rodney King Forgives Officers Who Beat Him.” n.d. 21 Sept. 2011.…...

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