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A Real Twelve Angry Men And The Rodney King Trial

1900 words - 8 pages

It was April 29th, 1992, and “Dawn was just filtering over Los Angeles and Courtroom 890 was silent as a tomb”(Mathews 1). The Rodney King trial had taken a little over two months and the verdict had the potential to change the history of the United States indefinitely. In both the Rodney King Beating Trial and the play Twelve Angry Men, racism played a major part in the original verdict. Rodney King was definitely in the wrong on the night of the beating, but the beating he got was not necessary. The trial was moved to a community with little diversity, therefore, the police officers were acquitted. The outcome of this trial would have turned out differently if the jury had been more diverse
The Rodney King Trial created extreme controversy and uproar in the state of California. The police officers that assaulted King were accused of assault and assault with a deadly weapon because they could be seen on tape beating Rodney King after pulling him over. King wasn’t completely innocent though, he was “convicted of attempted robbery in 1989, [he] served one year at the California Correctional Center in Susanville before being paroled and allowed to return home... there was a bottle of beer in the car when King saw the flashing lights of the California Highway Patrol. Knowing that he was violating his parole, King initially tried to get away, leading the officers on a high-speed chase”(Zook 4-5). This alone demonstrates that King was in the wrong that night. Even though Rodney King made some poor decisions that night, the beating he received was too intense. “Officer Powell came up to the right of [King],” according to Doug Linder, author of “An Account of the Los Angeles Police Officers’ Trials (The Rodney King Beating Case)”,“and in a matter of seconds, he took out his baton, he had it in a power swing, and he struck the driver across the top of his cheekbone, splitting the face from the top of his ear to his chin” (17). The officers thought that Rodney King was on the drug PCP, and they tased him twice but he resisted. After putting him down, they beat him with their nightsticks. Rodney King made some bad decisions that night; however, the police were overly brutal and the beating was uncalled for.
The jury of this case played a major role in the controversy of this case. Originally, the trial was supposed to be held in Los Angeles County; however, they moved it to Ventura County because they were afraid that the publicity of the tape would lead to a biased trial. According to Rissman, author of Rodney King and the L.A. Riots, “It also moved the trial into an extremely conservative city with very different values. Simi Valley was a mostly white community, with only 1.5 percent of its population consisting of African Americans. It was also home to thousands of law enforcement officers and their families” (Rissman 51-52). The location of the trial definitely affected the outcome of the case. The jury was made up of ten whites, one Latino and one...

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