The Madeleine Brand Show for April 23, 2012

Where are they now? Major figures from the LA riots

Rodney King

Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images

Rodney King, the Los Angeles motorist whose beating by police was captured on videotape, smiles, 01 May 1992 in Beverly Hills, during a press conference, where he called for the end of violence in the city. The 1992 Los Angeles riots, with looting and arson events, erupted 29 April 1992 when a mostly white jury acquitted the four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King, after he fled from police. 52 people were killed during the riots and Rodney King became a reluctant symbol of police brutality.

Twenty years after the L.A. riots, where are the people who were are at the center of it all? KPCC's Josie Huang speaks to Madeleine Brand about the whereabouts of Rodney King, the LAPD police who beat him, and Reginald Denny, the truck driver who was attacked in the riots.

Rodney King has stayed in the headlines over the years, mostly for arrests related to drug and alcohol abuse. He even went on Vh1's Celebrity Rehab in 2008 to deal with his addictions.

King has also come out with a book about his life to coincide with the riot anniversary, called "The Riot Within," and he's on a book tour now. This past weekend, he was interviewed by KPCC's Patt Morrison at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The full interview will be broadcast Friday.

As for the four cops who beat King, two of them, Sgt. Stacey Koon and Officer Laurence Powell, were later convicted and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Ted Briseno, who testified against the other officers, has receded from view. His lawyer says they haven't spoken in years and he didn't know how to contact him. Briseno was last reported to be working in security.

The fourth officer, Tim Wind, moved back to the Midwest and went to Indiana University's law school.

Meanwhile, Reginald Denny, who sustained major brain injuries from being attacked, has moved to Lake Havasu, Arizona.


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