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Rodney King

             On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was driving his car in the city of Los Angeles, California. Bryant Allen was a passenger in the back seat. King didn't stop when signaled by a police car behind him, but instead, sped up and increased his speed. It is estimated that King drove at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour for 7.8 miles. When King finally stopped the car, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department delivered 56 baton blows and six kicks to King in a period of two minutes, resulting in eleven skull fractures, brain damage, and kidney damage. A man named George Holliday was standing on the balcony of a nearby building and videotaped the incident. The next day, March 4, he gave his 81-second tape to a local L.A. TV station. By the end of the day, TV stations worldwide were broadcasting the video. On March 15, 1991, four police officers faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. The four police officers charged were Sgt. Stacey C. Koon, Officer Laurence M. Powell (Larry Powell), Officer Theodore Briseno, and Officer Timothy Wind. On March 26, they pleaded not guilty. Almost a year passed between indictment and the start of the trial. Testimony began March 5, 1992. On April 29, the jury acquitted the four defendants of all charges. Thousands of people in South Central Los Angeles responded to the verdict with several days of rioting. The violence spread to other parts of Los Angeles. Federal troops and the California National Guard were sent in to stop the riots. In six days of rioting, 54 people were killed, 2,383 were injured, and 13,212 people were arrested. There was an estimated $700 million in property damage in Los Angeles County. The case was sent to trial again and the four officers were indicted by a federal grand jury. In the second trial, the officers were accused of violating the civil rights of Rodney King. Sgt. Koon and Officer Powell were both found guilty.