Rodney King Incident

Rodney King Incident


The reaction to the incident emerged after a Video was circulated showing police mistreating one driver after defying their orders to stop and be checked (Jina Kim, 2009). The scenario sparked riots leading to countrywide demonstration by the public.The mass action was meant to oppose mistreatment by the police force and the use of excess force which the law bestowes to the police.

Rodney King, the subject of all the demonstrations and riots, was a taxi operator of the American African origin who was recognized from all corners of the world. The situation followed as a result of the beating by the police from the department of Los Angeles (Jina Kim, 2009). The brutal treatment and beating was as a ramification of his over speeding in the streets of Los Angeles in the year 1991. In the occurrence, four police constables were alleged of applying unwarranted force and the use of deadly arms. Three of them were charged by the state with the accusation while the fourth was charged of being in possession of the deadly weapon. Jina Kim (2009) reports that he was found guilty even though they did not reach a verdict following the application of excessive force.

The failure to reach a verdict led to acquittal of the culprits. The exonerations led to mob riots held in the streets of Los Angeles in 1992 which led to murdering of approximately 55 persons and in excess of 2000 others being injured critically.  Few others sustained minor injuries. The study looks at the Rodney King’s happening and its consequence on the response and the attitude of the public towards the law enforcement department (Jina Kim, 2009). The reseach will shed light on the treatment of persons who were seen to be breaking the law which they are sworn to protect at all times against both internal and external attacks. The study reveals the reason behind the brutality of the law enforcement agency against the citizens whom they were taught to safeguard and the laws that govern the use of excessive force against citizens. Also, the undertaking looks at the statute that governs the use and application of deadly weapons and the time which it is supposed to be employed as well as the consequence of misusing it (Jina Kim, 2009).

Description of Incident

            The Rodney king’s incident is believed to have commenced after the driver declined to stop his car while driving in the streets of California after being motioned by the Califonia duty officers for what they termed to be offhand driving. In an interview after he was arrested (Jina Kim, 2009), Rodney afterwards self-confessed that he was tanked-up while driving, something that is against the American driving laws. Nevertheless, this did not warrant the treatment that he received. Jina Kim (2009) asserts that it is why individuals and mostly the human rights activists took to the streets to protest their fear against thes harsh treatment from the same police force that was supposed to protect them against abuse. After Rodney defied the stopping orders, the officers started a high-speed pursuit that ended at Osborne Street after they caught up with him (Jina Kim, 2009). With the police helicopter keeping guard while balanced in the air, the law enforcers beat up Rodney mercilessly making him sustain crushed and unconnected bones, spoiled kidney, cracked skull, and dismantled teeth (Jina Kim, 2009).

George Holliday, the person who circulated the video, recorded the cruelty while seated on his verandah by means of his video camera after he was distracted by the alarms of forces vehicles. The video taken showing the Rodney’s arrest is a just early case of current surveillance, where private residents, helped by highly stylish, inexpensive video devices, record noteworthy and occasionally historic happenings (Jina Kim, 2009). Numerous “Copwatch” groups, consequently emerged all over the United States with an aim to defend against forces abuse which comprised a canopy crowd and October 22 Alliance to End Police Violence. The event involved four constables who challenged the king and used deadly rifles in thrashing him mercilessly (Jina Kim, 2009). Even after his attempt to stand after the fight, the officers involved continued beating him mercilessly purposing to break his joints to discourage him (Pack, Manifold Productions & Films for the Humanities, 2001).  The police saw his aim to stand as being a defect to their power and fight.

King was admitted to Pacifica Sanatorium later after his seizure, where he was diagnosed (Jina Kim, 2009). He had sustained a cracked facemask maxilla, a damaged right ankle, and numerous contusions and slits. In a slackness assertion documented with the city, King purported to have grieved “11 cranium cracks, perpetual brain harm, cracked [bones and fangs], kidney fiasco as well as a passionate and corporeal distress” (Pack et al.,2001). Plasma and urine tasters obtained from his body five epochs later, when he was captured, revealed that he might have happened to be woozy in line with the California regulation at the time of his capture. The examinations also displayed bits of bhang (Stuart, 2011).

Pacifica Sanatorium nurses conveyed that the constables who escorted King (counting Wind) willingly teased and boasted about the amount of times King had been smashed. Constables also acquired King’s documentation from his attires purloins during that duration. King charged the metropolitan and a bench granted him $3.8 million as well as $1.7 million in advocate’s dues (Pack et al.,2001). Prosecutions for Kings’ driving, although drunk and avoiding detention were certainly not followed. Region Advocate Ira Reiner said that there was inadequate proof for trial and Gil Garcetti felt that a lot of time had gone by to prosecute King with avoiding seizure whereas also stating that the law of restrictions on intoxicated driving had been long gone.

After four days of outstanding bench evidence, the Los Angeles region advocate prosecuted generals Koon, Powell, Briseno and Wind with usage of extreme power on March 14, 1991 (Pack et al.,2001). Sergeant Koon, solitary having organized the Taser was, as the superintendent officer at the division, prosecuted with “deliberately authorizing and dwindling to take deed to halt the illegal attack”. On August 22, 1991, the California Law court of Appeals detached the initial magistrate, Bernard Kamins, subsequently when it was verified that Kamins spoke to prosecutors saying, “You can have faith in me.” The Court of law similarly afterwards approved a variation of scene to the metropolitan of Simi Valley in bordering Ventura Province, quoting possible adulteration owing to saturated mass media reporting (Pack et al.,2001). .

Los Angeles chief Tom Bradley formed the Liberated Directive on the Los Angeles Forces Section, also recognized as the Christopher Directive, on April 1991 (Pack et al.,2001). . Headed by advocate Warren Christopher, it was formed to undertake a complete and just analysis of the organization and procedure of the Los Angeles Police Department,’ comprising its enrollment and drill rehearses, interior corrective organization and civilian protest system” (Pack et al.,2001).

Major Players

            Throughout the event of Rodney King, the most common key players were George Holliday, who produced the tape to evidence the act of the police officers on King (Pack et al.,2001). The video led to unrest in the cities and encouraged the rioting by people across the states. The rioting caused looting and destruction by the community members who were demanding proper respect of the dignity of people by the police department. Iran Reiner was the attorney of the county district court who oversaw the prosecution. Pack et al.,(2001) claim that the four officers from the Los Angeles Department participated substantially in massacring the driver together with the two passengers he was carrying. The action of the four police officers affected their relationship with the community members .

King stayed double Tasered via Koon (Pack et al.,2001). The scenario showed the estimated fright of the George Holliday record of the event. On the video, King was perceived to be on the earth. He stood and rushed in the direction of Powell as claimed in law court, either one of attacking Powell or to escape but irrespective King and Powell together rammed in the gale (Pack et al.,2001). Officer Powell struck King using his club, and King was bashed to the earth (Spagnola & King, 2014). Powell struck King at numerous intervals using his club. Briseno moved in an attempt to discontinue Powell from hitting over, and Powell stood nether. Koon supposedly whispered, “That’s sufficient.” King at that time stood over, to his laps; Powell and Wind were seen beating King using their cudgels (Pack et al.,2001).

Koon accepted and authorized the continual usage of truncheons, guiding Powell and Wind to attack King using “power blows”. Agreeing to Koon, Powell and Wind applied “spurts of power blows, then receded off’. In the tape, King continued trying to become erect once more. Koon ordered the constables to “smash his junctures, smash his wrists, his jostles, laps, and his ankles”. Captains Wind, Briseno, and Powell tried several club attacks on King leading to several failures but by 33 kicks striking King, and other six assaults. The generals’ once more “swarmed” the King (Stuart, 2011). However at this interval a whole of eight generals was convoluted in the flock (Spagnola & King, 2014). King was afterwards put under shackles and cord chains, limiting his limbs and feet. King was pulled on his belly to the sideways of the highway to expect the appearance of disaster homeopathic salvage.

George Holliday’s tape of the event was taken from his room neighboring the juncture of Foothill Blvd and Osborne Street in Lake View Terrace (Stuart, 2011). After two days, Holliday communicated with the forces regarding his occurrence tape, but they snubbed him. He then contacted KTLA TV with his video, though the TV station modified out ten instants of the film, afore the appearance was in emphasis, that presented a tremendously blurred shot of King attacking the constables (Spagnola & King, 2014). The cut recording would afterwards be quoted by affiliates of the panel of judges as vital to the discharge of the generals. The recording as an entire film developed into an immediate broadcasting consciousness (Stuart, 2011). Slices of it were shown several rounds, and it “spun what would else have been a vicious, but soon overlooked, happenstance amid the Los Angeles police and a disobliging perceived law breaker into one of the greatest extensively viewed and debated events of its type”(Spagnola & King, 2014).

How the Scandal Affected law Enforcement Relationships with the Community

The important piece of the King thrashing is the accessibility of tape footage of the occurrence (Stuart, 2011). As seen by several pundits, deprived of the tape, the thrashing would have remained improbable to rise to community responsiveness. Conspiracy, as a way to prevent rebound, botched stunningly in King Incident. However, proof of conspiracies can be seen in the King chronicle.

But initially it is worth noticing that the normal situation for cases of forces violence and extra misbehavior is no public domain and slight or no undesirable significances for police (Stuart, 2011). An examination into forces misbehavior in the US, inspired by the King thrashing, specified numerous counts of forces misbehavior and take habitation away from the communal view. Frequently, there are no eyewitnesses to the occurrence further than police force officers and the prey of the transgression.Therefore, there would be no one to verify the appellant’s story (Spagnola & King, 2014). Agents of community societies and lawful agencies labelled the strain of following complaints touching the police, predominantly in the nonexistence of eye witnesses. Both forces and citizens settled that, emanation down to a resident’s expression is contradiction of a constable’s story and the forces account reigns (Stuart, 2011). The massive bulk reports connecting one citizen and one police complaint is not continued.

Specific of the conveyed cases of forces cruelty are far further more grave than the King whipping and appear to have fewer account. Other officers regularly recognize that their associates are untruthful, but avoid or decline to voice out in contradiction to them. This supposed “enigma of muteness” – occasionally christened the “blue wall of silence” – is a method of officers faithfulness that unconsciously can consent abuse. The cypher of quiet was a piece of the Los Angeles Forces (Spagnola & King, 2014). As defined in Christopher Directive, it”comprises of one modest law statting that a police does not offer adversative facts touching a colleague officer” (Spagnola & King, 2014).

After taking the video on the incidence, Holliday made it available to the public and it validated and circulated for some years in the country (Spagnola & King, 2014). There was a complaint from the people about the torture and mistreatment from the police. The community decreased their trust on the police force after the incident (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011). After the review of the tape and the production of the video by Holliday, there was a concern all over the world about the role of the police in protecting the welfare of the community and the police treatment of the minorities in America. Rioting that came after the incident of the king and the country police demonstrated the unsatisfactory treatment that the citizens receive from the law enforcement of the country (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011).

Undervaluing or defaming the object has become a conversant method. It is now ordinary to perceive campaigners termed “terrorists,” a common word of cruelty. More long-lasting is devaluing of crowds such as persons with incapacities, tribal subgroups, the deprived, the jobless, and people with illegal registers (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011). Differing reduction is not tranquil. Persons who are apprehensive of fairness to all, irrespective of rank or disgrace, require to be conscious of methods of depreciation, to be equipped to uncover it, and to maintain that everybody merits to be carried with self-respect and justice (Spagnola & King, 2014).

Scuffles over clarifications of proceedings are vital items of communication. It is not astonishing that explanation scuffles are dominant to boomerang subtleties. News articles and personal communications are all part of interpretation struggles, which can transmit on for months, ages, or eras (Spagnola & King, 2014). For numerous campaigners, contribution in demonstrations appears extra real and considerable than lettering to the publishing supervisor. Viewing at backfires proposes that explanation skirmishes can be as vital to the influence of communal deed as the instant deed itself. Authorized networks like law court are frequently perceived as means for giving fairness (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011). Examination of boomerang undercurrents tips to a slightly dissimilar opinion. Authorized canals can be powerful outfits for dispelling general barbarity against prejudice. The insinuation for campaigners insinuates that authorized networks ought only to be used with caution, comprising fore examination of their efficiency (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011).

Ultimately, bullying and corruption can be compelling paths for hindering backfire, but are infrequently considered (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011). Forces cruelty is frequently convoyed by intimidations and captures of the preys, a procedure that has robust relations with conspiracies (Spagnola & King, 2014). More extensively, vast campaigners and actions have remained beleaguered for aggravation and disturbance, but there is moderately slight engravement on how to cope with this (Stuart, 2011). Training is vital, as is rejection to be frightened and readiness to uncover bullying and assaults.


In the history of police brutality, myriasd humans have fallen prey under the hands of the same force which is sworn to protect them against any kind of attack. This means that at some place the men trained to protect citizens fail in their duty and in places they fall as those who advocate for injustice against the same citizens they are supposed to safeguard. Rodney’s case was only exceptional since somebody was a witness and recorded the whole treatment on camera, bringing in enough evidence. Otherwise, his case would have been just one of the several cases of abuse against citizens by the officers who go scot-free without prosecutions.

Also, it brought out the truth about the way through which higher platforms of justice are manipulated to favor those in authority thereby delivering unjust judgments. This was visible when, despite the real evidence presented against the officers who mishandled him, they were acquitted in the courts, raising a question of the force and reason behind their acquittal despite existence of substantial evidence against them. In the death of Rodney, foul play was not ruled out and this brought about the question of how far police brutality goes. It was assumed that it was an aftermath of the collision with the law enforcers that led to his death. His demise led to a believe that police brutality did not end when the case closed in the court room but rather hostility developed forever (Wilson & Heinonen, 2011).


Jina Kim. (2009). Mass Media and Art in the 1990s: From Rodney King Incident to O.J. Simpson Trial. Journal of History of Modern Art, null (25), 179-211. doi:10.17057/kahoma. 2009..25.007

Pack, M., Manifold Productions, & Films for the Humanities (Firm). (2011). The Rodney King incident: Race and justice in America. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Spagnola, L. J., & King, R. (2014). The riot within: My journey from rebellion to redemption. Place of publication not identified: Harper One.

Stuart, F. (2011). Constructing Police Abuse after Rodney King: How Skid Row Residents and the Los Angeles Police Department Contest Video Evidence. Law & Social Inquiry, 36(2), 327-353.

Wilson, J. & Heinonen, J. (2011). Advancing a Police Science: Implications From a National Survey of Police Staffing. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 277-297.

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