Rodney King’s brutal beating by Los Angeles police officers in March of 1991 was an event which garnered international attention and exposed escalating racial tensions in America. The 1992 announcement of the acquittal of three of the four officers charged in King’s beating provided a flashpoint in Los Angeles, sparking six days of rioting where at least 54 people lost their lives and property damage costs reached $1 billion. Two of the officers were eventually charged with violating King's civil rights, but the scars and memories remain. In the twenty years since the riots, Rodney King has worked hard to maintain a positive perspective on life after facing struggles with addiction, subsequent run ins with the LAPD and the weight of being a living historical touchstone for such a violent chapter in Los Angeles’ history. Patt Morrison sat down recently with King to talk about the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots and how they have affected his life, and how they changed Los Angeles and its people.
Rodney King, victim in a police brutality case involving the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991; author of "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption"