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Rodney King And The Los Angeles Riots

2699 words - 11 pages

David LopezMs. LeeU.S History14 May 2004Rodney King and the Los Angeles RiotsThe worst riot in United States History was the Los Angles riot that was sparked by the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers in the Rodney King case in the afternoon of April 29, 1992. Rodney King was a black man who was clubbed and kicked by LAPD officers after being pulled over for speeding on March 3, 1991. Rodney King suffered eleven skull fractures, brain damage, and kidney damage, all in under two minutes. The four LAPD officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and the use of excessive force, but were acquitted by a white jury. Thousands of people responded to the verdict with many days of rioting in South Central Los Angeles. There was an estimated seven hundred million dollars in damages to the city of Los Angeles. Many people were killed, injured, and arrested.Rodney King was an unemployed construction worker who was twenty-five years old at the time he was spotted speeding down a San Fernando freeway by a California Highway Patrol Unit. The patrol unit then chased King and the other two passengers he had in his speeding car. After King got off the freeway, LAPD joined the pursuit. Rodney King finally pulled over in the city of Lake View Terrace. Officers ordered King to get out of his car, and he did, but officers said he didn't look too happy about it. Four officers, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, Stacy Koon, and Laurence Powell tried to arrest King, but according to police, King resisted, throwing everyone off of him easily. That is when Sergeant Stacy Koon hit King with two tazer darts. Tazer darts are designed to stun a suspect easily, but not King. Instead, King charged at the officers. Since the dart had no effect on King, officers thought that he was under the influence of a drug called PCP. PCP will give a person extra strength for a short amount of time. It took all four officers to get King to the ground. Once on the floor, three of the four officers started beating King with their batons. King ended up having eleven skull fractures. He also suffered from brain and kidney damage. Officers were not aware that a man named George Holliday, who lived nearby, was recording the whole beating (Cole 11).George Holliday was awakened by the noise of the police sirens coming from outside his apartment window. "The sirens and copter noise woke [us] up," Holliday's wife said later. "I went out on the balcony and saw all the commotion and called George." She told Holliday, "Maybe you should get the new camera, there is a lot going on out there" (Cole 12). He immediately grabbed his new video camera and started to record the beating of Rodney King.Even though king was speeding, fled from police, resisted arrest, and lunged at officers that tried to arrest him, the beating that Holliday recorded on tape did show officers using excessive force. Holliday gave his tape to KTLA, a Los Angeles TV station, which showed the tape in one of...

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