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The Rodney King Trial Essay

1848 words - 7 pages

In the play Twelve Angry Men, a boy is on trial for supposedly murdering his father after a night of arguing. Rodney King, twenty-five, was beaten by four caucasian Los Angeles Police Department officers on March 3, 1991 (CNN Wire 1). On this day, King was pulled over for exceeding the speed limit while intoxicated (Kaplan 1). The jury of both of these cases played a major role in the verdict of each case. In the play Twelve Angry Men, the twelve men that make up the jury are faced with a difficult decision to make; deciding whether or not a nineteen year old boy was guilty of murder. Fast forwarding forty-three years later, twelve jurors were given the Rodney King case in which they had to decide the fate of the four Los Angeles officers that brutally beat Rodney King, an African-American citizen. Being a member of the jury on the Rodney King case must have been a difficult task given the evidence surrounding the trial.
The day of March 3rd, Rodney King sped away from the police officers while intoxicated. The day of March 3rd, Rodney King was roughly taken from his vehicle.The day of March 3rd, Rodney King was brutally bashed and beaten close to sixty times by Los Angeles, California police officers (Boyd 1). The Rodney King Legacy Lives states, “The sickening tape, shot by a neighborhood resident, clearly shows the man on the ground offering no resistance as the cops pummeled him reportedly fifty-six times in the body and face,” (Carter 2). From the tape, the member’s of the jury had the opportunity to see, for themselves, the acts of brutality that took place. Some of the damages caused “skull fractures, nerve damage, a crushed cheekbone, a broken ankle and possible brain damage” (Brady 1).With this information, the members of the jury were able to come to the realization that the injuries weren’t minor bruises; rather, those wounds further affected King’s life. The trial as a whole contained various conflicting elements.
Racial diversity was one factor that was not focused on in the case. That being said, the fact that the jury was “mostly white and from suburban Simi Valley, acquitted the officers” angered the people (Kaplan 1). Many people were unhappy that the jury was not assorted, including Richard Carter who said, “And all these years later, have we recovered from the death-dealing riots spawned by the all-white jury’s ludicrous acquittal of officers Theodore Briseno, Stacy Coon, Laurence Powell and Timothy Wind?” (Carter 1). Countless people were slightly offended that the officers got off so easy and the people wanted them to pay for the riots sparked by the jurors’ decisions. The members of the jury had a hard decision to make. According to the public, they should have deliberated longer than they did in order to come to a more appropriate verdict.
After deliberating for thirty hours, the members of the jury finally came to a conclusion: to send two of the four officers to prison and reward Mr. King with 3.8 million dollars...

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