It has been 25 years since the Los Angeles riots that erupted after four white Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted the beating of Rodney King.
Sadly enough, in these past 25 years, not much has changed. The simple words “Not guilty” in trials featuring police officers who have abused their power and dismissed their oath to protect and serve, still causes the same unrest and outrage today as they did in 1992.
On April 29, 1992 a jury acquitted four police officers caught on video beating motorist Rodney King. That not guilty verdict sparked an immediate response of outrage and violence throughout Los Angeles.
(On March 3, 1991) Amateur cameraman George Holliday shot video from the balcony of his Lake View Terrace apartment that shows a group of police officers beating a man with night sticks and kicking him as other officers look on.
(March 5, 1991) Two days after the beating, Sgt. Stacey Koon, Officer Laurence Powell, Officer Timothy Wind and Officer Theodore Briseno were arrested. They were charged with assault and using excessive force. The trial began March 5, 1992.
(April 29, 1992) The officers were found not guilty in the beating Rodney King, because jurors were not convinced that a 81-second videotape of the incident represented the entire story.
April 29th was also the day massive riots broke out throughout LA, resulting in the deaths of more than 55 people and $1 billion in damage to the city. The riots set off a sequence of events including a states of emergency being declared, followed by the National Guards and Marines being called in bring order to all of the chaos.
Rodney King’s “Can we all just get along” plea came on May 1, 1992 in an attempt to calm rioters and unite the community.
The four officers later faced a civil trial where two were found guilty and two were acquitted. The two guilty officers served 2 1/2 years.
On June 17, 2012 Rodney King was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool in Rialto.
Now 25 years later instead of Rodney King we have Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell and the list goes on and on. These individuals lost their lives due to police brutality and those officers get paid leave (aka a vacation), a trail with a not guilty verdict and an opportunity to go home to their families.
When does this stop?