March 03, 2014

On this day March 3rd

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

March 3, 1991, Rodney King is beaten by a group of white policemen in Los Angeles, Calif.

Born in Sacramento, California, on April 2, 1965, Rodney King was caught by the Los Angeles police after a high-speed chase on March 3, 1991. The officers pulled him out of the car and beat him brutally, while amateur cameraman George Holliday caught it all on videotape. The four L.A.P.D. officers involved were indicted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force by a police officer. However, after a three-month trial, a predominantly white jury acquitted the officers, inflaming citizens and sparking the violent 1992 Los Angeles riots. Two decades after the riots, King told CNN that he had forgiven the officers. King was found dead in his swimming pool on June 17, 2012, in Rialto, California, at the age of 47.

The officers - Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Stacey Koon -- were charged with criminal offenses, including assault with a deadly weapon. Their trial was originally set to be held in Los Angeles, but defense attorneys successfully argued that a fair trial in Los Angeles would be impossible because of the publicity.

The trial was moved to Simi Valley, a predominantly white suburb of L.A. The jury was comprised of ten white people, one Hispanic person and one Asian person, and many objected to the fact that there were no African-American jurors.

The officers' acquittal in April 1992 triggered riots in South Central, Los Angeles. More than 50 people were killed, more than 2,000 were injured and 9,500 were arrested for rioting, looting and arson, resulting in $1 billion in property damage.

On the third day of the riots, King made a public appearance, making his now famous plea: "People, I just want to say, can't we all get along? Can't we all get along?"

The United States Department of Justice filed federal civil rights charges against the four officers, and in August of 1992, two of them were found guilty while the other two were acquitted. King was eventually awarded $3.8 million in a civil trial for the injuries he sustained.

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