Rodney King

How the Zimmerman Jury Failed Us

Lawrence D. Bobo

A jury in Florida failed us. We have not seen a moral failure this grave since a similarly all-white jury in Simi Valley, Calif., in 1992 acquitted the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King. Writing in the same year as that ill-fated verdict, the distinguished civil rights lawyer Derrick Bell declared that "racism is an integral, permanent and indestructible component of this society." In most circumstances, I treat this declaration as a foil: a claim to be slowly picked apart as, at best, too easy and, at worst, deeply unfair and wrong. Not today.

Reflecting on the Music That Shaped the Los Angeles of the Rodney King Era

Kevin Morris

Because of the gang violence and drug addiction that is synonymous with the inner city and especially Los Angeles, there is sense that these type of measures are warranted for a people who commit such acts intra-communally. And police brutality stands as another repressive constant within the inner city. Something NWA summed up with their classic single F*ck Tha Police. Although some may cringe at the title and lyrics of the song, the sentiment is shared across the predominantly African-American inner cities in this country. 

The Final Tragedy of Rodney King

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Less than two weeks before his death, I was scheduled to interview Rodney King on the public stage at the annual Leimert Park Book festival in Los Angeles. I had two conflicting thoughts about the interview. One was that if the well-worn term accident of history term ever applied to anyone, it was King. The second was what made King, 21 after that fateful night of his beating by four white Los Angeles Police officers captured in shocking detail on videotape, still such an enduring figure, name and most importantly, a symbol. 

 

20 Years Ago: A Look Back at the Los Angeles Riots

Stewart Kwoh

Sunday, April 29  marked the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles civil unrest -- the day in 1992 that community outrage erupted hours after a jury’s unjust acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers who severely beat an African-American motorist, Rodney King. Fifty-four individuals died during the six days of unrest. Another 2,400 were injured. Businesses were looted and destroyed, resulting in an estimated $1 billion dollars in property damage. 

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