Rodney King
Victim of police brutality
Rodney King
Rodney Glen King was an American construction worker who became well known after being beaten harshly by Los Angeles police officers during a traffic stop on 3 March 1991. A bystander, George Holliday, witnessed the beating and videotaped much of the incident from a distance.
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Remembering Jim Fittipaldi And A Bygone Downtown Los Angeles
Huffington Post - 3 months
One of the great bon vivants in the history of the Los Angeles underground has died. Jim Fittipaldi, 59, was struck by a massive heart attack on Saturday, December 3, at his home in Florida. He had left Los Angeles about six years ago but the transformative changes to the semi-industrial neighborhood he left behind make it seem like it has been fifty years since his departure. An artist with a touch at caricature so deft that he elevated the medium to high art, Fittipaldi’s notoriety and legacy rests as the proprietor of Bedlam, a prominent underground club in what is now the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. In a universe of fly-by-night operations, Bedlam under Fittipaldi’s direction lasted well over ten years in a few incarnations all within a few blocks of the Traction Avenue epicenter of the former warehouse district. Bedlam was, first and foremost, a bar. That there was no liquor license and the party raged well past California’s mandatory 2:00 AM last call were part ...
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Huffington Post article
Hate Crime In U.S. Survey Up 6 Percent; But Anti-Muslim Rise 89 Percent, NYC Up 24 Percent So Far In 2016
Huffington Post - 4 months
New National Data From 21 States Shows Hate Crime Up Our recent 20-state study, released last month, and to be presented at the American Society of Criminology next month, found small overall hate crime increases punctuated by significant spikes that vary by location, offense type, significant event dates and targeted group. The data relied primarily and preferably on official law enforcement figures. Since the report was published we have new official police data from Maryland, one of the nation's most diverse states, with one of the highest percentages of Jews, Muslims and African-Americans. Maryland was also the first state in the nation to systematically record hate crime statistics. This updated 21-state data is presented for the first time here in The Huffington Post. Final national hate crime figures from the FBI are expected late next month. Twenty One U.S. State Annual Change by Group For 2015 : Update of Special Status Report 1. Due to limited availability of data, ...
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Huffington Post article
Time For Hard And Fast Standard On When Cops Can Kill
Huffington Post - 5 months
In quick succession, an El Cajon police officer gunned down an alleged mentally challenged man, a Tulsa police officer gunned down a distressed motorist, a Charlotte, North Carolina officer gunned down an allegedly combative suspect, Pasadena, California police officers violently restrained a distressed man who allegedly became combative and he died, and a Los Angeles police officer killed an alleged fleeing auto theft suspect. These violent deaths at the hands of officers have two things in common. They stirred furor, rage, and protests because the victims were Black males. But it's the second thing that has drawn almost no attention in these cases that deserve the most attention, and more importantly some answers. That's the tormenting, and still mostly unanswered question, just when can and should a cop use deadly force? There is no uniform national standard of what is or isn't an acceptable use of force in police slayings. It almost always comes down to a judgment call by the of ...
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Huffington Post article
Public Service Announcement: For The Families Of Those Killed While Black
Huffington Post - 5 months
The revolution will be televised on your flat screen TVs, on your smart phones, on the nightly news. Pay close attention to the blood left behind at the hands of those sworn to keep you safe. We cannot be held liable if we fail to protect you. Be prepared to surrender your inalienable rights. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal except if you are Sean Bell, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Tanisha Anderson, Mike Brown, Ezell Ford, Akai Gurley, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, John Crawford, Jordan Baker, Sharisse Francis, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Harris and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can only be found in books our youth cannot access. It is not our fault that you cannot read. War is expensive, education, the price. Single mothers start saving up bail money. If you cannot afford an attorney, ...
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Huffington Post article
Doug Baldwin: 'Can't help' but speak on police-involved shootings
ABC News - 5 months
RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin's time with reporters Thursday began with a statement on race, law enforcement and social activism, reflections that follow the latest police-involved shootings of black men in the United States. "This is not an isolated incident," said Baldwin, who is African-American and the son of a police officer. "This is not an isolated conversation. This is not isolated just to some specific parts of our country. We see that now. And the advancement of technology has proven that, from the video of Rodney King in 1991 to the numerous incidents that we now have visual evidence of today. "Now this is not an indictment of our law enforcement agencies. I just want that to be clear. We know that there's a select few -- a very minute few -- of law enforcement who are not abiding by those laws and policies. However, we also know that there are laws and policies that are in place that are not correcting... ...
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ABC News article
Here’s What It’s Like To Walk Through The First National Black History Museum
Huffington Post - 6 months
WASHINGTON ― When you step into the elevator on the top floor of the David M. Rubenstein History Galleries, there’s a timeline to your right. It begins with the word “Today.” Pay attention to it. As you descend, the timeline will lead you back into history, past President Barack Obama’s 2008 election, through the civil rights movement and Jim Crow. You’ll glide past Reconstruction, the Civil War and the height of African enslavement in the New World. Soon, the elevator will reach its destination: the belly of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. On Wednesday, journalists who flooded into the 400,000-square foot edifice, designed to resemble a three-tier corona found in Yoruban art, got a sneak peek at the museum’s galleries ahead of the Sept. 24 grand opening. “The layout of the inside of the building is based on a scripted flow-through,” Phil Freelon, one of the building’s architects, told The Huffington Post. “One of the ways to experience this ...
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Huffington Post article
Don't expect protests in baseball -- It's a white man's game by design
ABC News - 6 months
An ongoing referendum is taking place in America, a trial in which we, the people, seem to be both plaintiff and defendant. The same questions are being asked that have always been asked, especially in an election year, but the consequences of those answers no longer seem to result merely in a difference of opinion. Today, they either confirm that our people, institutions and beliefs are the allies we thought them to be, or they serve as sudden, irreparable proof that our friends and neighbors were never quite friends or neighbors. We assumed too much about the progress we thought we made, believed we were closer than we actually were. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn't start this referendum, but he has become, like Crispus Attucks or Curt Flood or Rodney King, the flashpoint of a reckoning much larger than himself and long overdue. He stood up by kneeling down, and not only has he yet to move, but others -- many black men and at least one white woman,...
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ABC News article
Confessions Of A Whitesplainer
Huffington Post - 6 months
Race has been in the national narrative quite a bit lately. Between things like Black Lives Matter, the Colin Kaepernick protest and Donald Trump's candidacy for president, there have been countless discussions about what constitutes racism and to what degree it still exists in America. The common thread of a good many of these "conversations" is that people who should be listening are doing the bulk of the talking. To be succinct: If you're a white person telling a black person what it's like to be black, you're "whitesplaining." And whitesplaining is arrogant, naïve and sad. I say this not as an accusation but as a confession, for I too am a recovering whitesplainer. There is a solution to whitesplaining, though. And here is how I entered "treatment" for it. Back in the fall of 1993, the "LA Four" trial for the beating of Reginald Denny in the LA Riot, concluded with only one of the attackers receiving a significant prison sentence. That was in the wake of the acquitta ...
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Huffington Post article
Should Hillary Still Be Held Accountable For Bill's Crime Bill?
Huffington Post - 7 months
Hillary Clinton on several occasions has done what could be called a mea culpa for hubby, Bill's still much talked about and much maligned Omnibus Crime Bill that he spear-headed to Congress in 1994. Her most memorable about-face was in a speech in Harlem last February when she called for "end-to-end" criminal justice reform, more support for African-American homeowners and a hefty $20 billion boost to tackle Great Depression joblessness in poor, and minority communities. She has struck that theme and pledge several times on the campaign trail. However, this has not silenced the usual suspect Hillary critics on the Left, nor many Blacks who back Clinton, but still slap a guilt by marital association number on her for the bill. Clinton on Hillary's campaign trail and in interviews has slid at times between an angry defense of the bill to a recant of some of the dire consequences of t ...
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Huffington Post article
'Get Close'
Huffington Post - 9 months
What I said to the Yale Class of 2016 Good afternoon class of 2016! For starters, I think I owe you an apology. I know what you were thinking. 2014: John Kerry. 2015: Joe Biden. Then 2016 rolls around, and your Class Day speaker still hasn't been announced, and you start thinking - ok, Secretary of State, then Vice President...who else would follow naturally in the hierarchy...and then, boom! You get the U.S. Ambassador to what? Biggest disappointment since they canceled "Safety Dance." Or, to get more specific, as one of your classmates summed it up on Facebook - yeah, thanks - "How come 2014 and 2015 got Kerry and Biden and we get this rando?" So, sorry. Sorry for being the rando. Thank you. Thank you - it's ok, really. It's ok. Since I went to school here - right here - I have been blessed to be able to do some pretty amazing things - none more extraordinary than getting to serve every day as the American Ambassador to the United Nations. But getting to be back at Yale ...
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Huffington Post article
25 years later, Rodney King's daughter remembers a human being, not a symbol
LATimes - 12 months
For as long as Lora King could remember, she had to share her father with the world. Everywhere Rodney King went, people swarmed him for autographs or asked to take pictures with him. They offered words of encouragement at the local pharmacy. As he shared meals with his three daughters, others...
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LATimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Rodney King
  • 2012
    Age 46
    On the morning of June 17, 2012, King's fiancée Cynthia Kelly found him lying at the bottom of his swimming pool.
    More Details Hide Details Police in Rialto received a 911 call from Kelly at about 5:25 a.m. (PDT). Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him, and attempted to revive him. He was transferred by ambulance to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, California and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:11 a.m. (PDT) The Rialto Police Department began a standard drowning investigation and stated there did not appear to be any foul play.
    This arrest led to his February 2012 misdemeanor conviction for reckless driving.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2010
    Age 44
    On September 9, 2010, it was confirmed that King was going to marry Cynthia Kelly, who had been a juror in the civil suit he brought against the City of Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details The BBC quoted King commenting on his legacy. "Some people feel like I'm some kind of hero. Others hate me. They say I deserved it. Other people, I can hear them mocking me for when I called for an end to the destruction, like I'm a fool for believing in peace."
  • 2009
    Age 43
    In 2009, King and other Celebrity Rehab alumni appeared as panel speakers to a new group of addicts at the Pasadena Recovery Center, marking 11 months of sobriety for him.
    More Details Hide Details His appearance was aired in the third season episode "Triggers".
    King won a celebrity boxing match against ex–Chester City (Delaware County, Pennsylvania) police officer Simon Aouad on Friday, September 11, 2009, at the Ramada Philadelphia Airport in Essington, Pennsylvania.
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  • 2008
    Age 42
    In May 2008, King checked into the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California, where he filmed as a cast member of season 2 of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which premiered in October 2008.
    More Details Hide Details Dr. Drew Pinsky, who runs the facility, showed concern for King's lifestyle and said King would die unless his addiction was treated. He also appeared on Sober House, a Celebrity Rehab spin-off focusing on a sober living environment, During his time on Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, King worked on his addiction and what he said was lingering trauma of the beating. He and Pinsky physically retraced King's path from the night of his beating, eventually reaching the spot where it happened, the site of the Children's Museum of Los Angeles.
  • 2007
    Age 41
    On November 29, 2007, while riding home on his bicycle, King was shot in the face, arms, and back with pellets from a shotgun.
    More Details Hide Details He reported that the attackers were a man and a woman who demanded his bicycle and shot him when he rode away. Police described the wounds as looking as if they came from birdshot.
  • 2003
    Age 37
    On August 27, 2003, King was arrested again for speeding and running a red light while under the influence of alcohol.
    More Details Hide Details He failed to yield to police officers and slammed his vehicle into a house, breaking his pelvis. On March 3, 2011, the 20th anniversary of the beating, the LAPD stopped King for driving erratically and issued him a citation for driving with an expired license.
  • 1995
    Age 29
    In July 1995, he was arrested by Alhambra police after hitting his wife with his car and knocking her to the ground.
    More Details Hide Details He was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of hit and run.
  • 1993
    Age 27
    On August 21, 1993, he crashed his car into a block wall in downtown Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details He was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, fined, entered a rehabilitation program and was placed on probation.
    Based on these indictments a trial of the four officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California began on February 25, 1993.
    More Details Hide Details The federal trial focused more on the incident. On March 9 of the 1993 trial, King took the witness stand and described to the jury the events as he remembered them. The jury found Officer Laurence Powell and Sergeant Stacey Koon guilty, and they were subsequently sentenced to 32 months in prison, while Timothy Wind and Theodore Briseno were acquitted of all charges. During the three-hour sentencing hearing, the Federal trial judge, John Davies, accepted much of the defense version of the beating. He strongly criticized King, who he said provoked the officers' initial actions. Judge Davies stated that only the final six or so baton blows by Powell were unlawful. The first 55 seconds of the videotaped portion of the incident, during which the vast majority of the blows were delivered, was within the law because the officers were attempting to subdue a suspect who was resisting efforts to take him into custody.
  • 1992
    Age 26
    On April 29, 1992, the jury acquitted three of the officers, but could not agree on one of the charges against Powell.
    More Details Hide Details Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said, "The jury's verdict will not blind us to what we saw on that videotape. The men who beat Rodney King do not deserve to wear the uniform of the LAPD." President George H. W. Bush said, "Viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I and so was Barbara and so were my kids." The acquittals are considered to have triggered the Los Angeles riots of 1992. By the time the police, the U.S. Army, Marines and National Guard restored order, the riots had caused 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damage to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses. Smaller riots occurred in other cities such as San Francisco, Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada and as far east as Atlanta, Georgia. A minor riot erupted on Yonge Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as a result of the acquittals.
    The acquittals are generally considered to have triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots, in which 55 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured, ending only when the California national guard was called in. The acquittals also led to the federal government's obtaining grand jury indictments for violations of King's civil rights. The trial of the four in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and subsequently imprisoned.
    More Details Hide Details The other two were acquitted again.
  • 1991
    Age 25
    King was subject to further arrests and convictions for driving violations after the 1991 incident.
    More Details Hide Details
    Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley created the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, also known as the Christopher Commission, in April 1991.
    More Details Hide Details Led by attorney Warren Christopher, it was created to conduct 'a full and fair examination of the structure and operation of the LAPD,' including its recruitment and training practices, internal disciplinary system, and citizen complaint system." Though few people at first considered race an important factor in the case, including Rodney King's attorney, Steven Lerman, the sensitizing effect of the Holliday videotape was at the time stirring deep resentment in Los Angeles, as well as other major cities in the United States. The officers' jury consisted of Ventura County residents: ten white; one Latino; one Asian. Lead prosecutor Terry White was African American.
    After four days of grand jury testimony, the Los Angeles district attorney charged officers Koon, Powell, Briseno and Wind with use of excessive force on March 14, 1991.
    More Details Hide Details Sergeant Koon, only having deployed the Taser was, as the supervisory officer at the scene, charged with "willfully permitting and failing to take action to stop the unlawful assault". On August 22, 1991, the California Court of Appeals removed the initial judge, Bernard Kamins, after it was proved Kamins told prosecutors, "You can trust me." The Court also later granted a change of venue to the city of Simi Valley in neighboring Ventura County, citing potential contamination due to saturated media coverage.
    Early on the morning of March 3, 1991, King, with two passengers, Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms, were driving a 1987 Hyundai Excel or a Mitsubishi Precis west on the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details Prior to driving onto the Foothill Freeway, the three men had spent the night watching a basketball game and drinking at a friend's house in Los Angeles. Five hours after the incident, King's blood-alcohol level was found to be slightly below the legal limit. This suggests that his blood alcohol level may have fallen from .19% while he was driving, in which case it would have been more than twice the legal driving limit in California. At 12:30 am, officers Tim and Melanie Singer, husband-and-wife members of the California Highway Patrol, noticed King's car speeding on the freeway. The officers pursued King, and the pursuit attained high speeds, while King refused to pull over. King would later admit he attempted to outrun the police at dangerously high speeds because a charge of driving under the influence would violate his parole for a previous robbery conviction.
  • 1989
    Age 23
    In November 1989, King robbed a store in Monterey Park, California.
    More Details Hide Details He threatened to hit the Korean store owner with an iron bar, then hit him with a pole. King stole two hundred dollars in cash during the robbery and was caught, convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment. He was released after serving one year of the sentence. King had three daughters: one by Carmen Simpson, when he was a teenager, and one by each of his two wives. Both of King's marriages, to Danetta Lyles and Crystal Waters, ended in divorce.
  • 1984
    Age 18
    King was born in Sacramento, California, the son of Ronald King and Odessa King. He and his four siblings grew up in Altadena, California. King's father died in 1984 at the age of 42.
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  • 1965
    Born on April 2, 1965.
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