For everyone who saw the horrifying beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. The video was captured by a private citizen and played on television showing three Los Angeles police officers beating with metal batons, kicking, and stomping on a seemingly defenseless African-American named Rodney King as their supervisor watched. Everyone seemed to believe that the police used excessive force in arresting King. Regardless of the videotape, a jury in Simi Valley concluded that the evidence was not adequate to convict these officers. Within hours of the jury's verdict, Los Angeles erupted in riots. When it was over, fifty-four people had lost their lives, over 7,000 people had been arrested, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property had been destroyed.
In the morning of March 3, 1991 Rodney Glen King was spotted driving at very high speeds. California Highway Patrol, Tim and Melanie Singer began to chase King's speeding car, who he ignored as sirens and lights flashed. As the chase came to an end, King was surrounded by police officers. Within seconds, Los Angeles police cars arrived at the scene as well as the helicopter. Officers Laurence Powell and Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Sergeant Stacey Koon were amongst the arrival. Tim and Melanie Singer shouted at King to get out of the car and lay down on the ground. He did so in an arrogant manner, smiling and waving at the helicopter. As she approached King to make the arrest Sergeant Koon called her off.
Sergeant Koon examined King's bizarre behavior in addition to his blank face and suspected that he was on the powerful and fearful drug, PCP. Police believed that this drug made individuals resistant to pain and gave them superhuman strength. Koon's suspicion grew even more after King fend off a maneuver by his officers and managed to rise to his feet after being hit twice by an electric stun gun called a Taser.