Not Just Another Traffic Stop

On March 3, 1991, a plumber and his camera captured an event that would lead to the 1992 LA Riots

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Nineteen years ago on March 3, a motorist was pulled over after a pursuit on the 210 Freeway in the Lakeview Terrace area.

    That might have been it, but then plumber George Holliday grabbed his video camera and went to his balcony. He recorded  group of LAPD officers striking the motorist.

    Rodney King soon became much more than just another fleeing motorist.

    In a time before YouTube, the video of officers spread via TV newscasts. A March 25, 1991 TIME magazine article proclaimed, "Police Brutality!"

    An excerpt from the article:

    Rodney King, 25, an unemployed construction worker, had suffered 11 fractures in his skull, a crushed cheekbone, a broken ankle, internal injuries, a burn on his chest and some brain damage.

    The matter might have ended there had not a bystander captured two minutes of the March 3 incident with his video camera. Within hours, the horrific scene was being replayed on national television. Within days, outraged protesters were demanding the resignation of Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates. By the end of last week, four officers had been arrested for assault and 11 others were under investigation by the FBI, the L.A.P.D.'s internal affairs division and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Said D.A. Ira Reiner: "It is a terrible moment, and time for serious reflection, when officers who have sworn to uphold the law are indicted for the most serious felonies."


    That was just the start. One year later, jurors acquitted four LAPD officers accused in the beating.

    The 1992 LA Riots ensued.