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Rodney King and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots

            On April 29, 1992, a period of extreme, racially motivated riots rocked the city of Los Angeles. The riots were spawned by an LA court verdict that resulted in exonerating four white police officers who had been charged with assaulting and using excessive force on black citizen, Rodney King. .
             Rodney King was a paroled felon involved in a high speed chase along with two passengers through the streets of Los Angeles. When law enforcement apprehended the two unnamed passengers, they then attempted to arrest the intoxicated Rodney King. .
             According to witnesses, Mr. King resisted arrest and was then severally beaten by police officers Laurence Powell, Theodore Briseno, and Timothy Wind. Unknown to the officers, bystander George Holliday recorded the minute and a half (89 mins) ordeal in its entirety with his personal video camera. An online article posted by the LA Times stated, "George Holliday sold the rights to the video for $500 ". March, 4th, 1992 the video was broadcast on various news channels and it spread like wild fire around the country triggering a national debate on police brutality. Rodney King was released from police custody without any charges, but they four officers involved in the beating Sergeant Stacey Koon, and Officers Powell, Wind, and Briseno were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force. Even though Koon did not participate in the beating, being the commanding officer present he was charged with aiding and abetting. Koon and Powell were also charged with filing false reports. .
             Because of the outraged civilians in Los Angeles the Judge was forced to move the trial outside of the Los Angeles County to Simi Valley. April 29th, 1992 the jury consisting of 10 Caucasians and no African Americans reached its verdict. The officers were found not guilty on all counts besides one assault charge against Powell that ended in a hung jury. As a result of the verdict Los Angeles turned into a battle ground the same day the verdict was delivered.

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