Rodney King: April 2, 1965—June 17, 2012
I remember hearing about his beating when I was in high school. And then, once the video went public, and the police officers were acquitted—the riots. People talked about whether or not he was “on something” and that somehow justified what happened. I wonder how far reaching the rioting would have been had it happened today, in our every millisecond a new status update and viral video world.
Have things improved in the past 20 years where racial profiling is concerned? I don’t think we have. If anything, we’ve just added more races to the list. Now instead of just being suspicious of anyone who appears to be African-American or Hispanic, the poilce (and TSA) are often suspicious of anyone who looks even vaguely Middle Eastern.
But on the flip side, do we just feel sorry for Rodney King? Did he grow and lead change and benefit society in the wake of the riots?
Do we excuse bad behavior because someone was once wronged?
Get beat down once by police. Get out of Jail free card for life
King’s Trouble with the Law After March 3, 1991
May 11, 1991: King was pulled over for having an excessively tinted windshield. Although King was driving without a license and his car registration had expired, King was not charged.
May 28, 1991: King picked up a transvestite prostitute in Hollywood who happened to be under surveillance by LAPD officers. King and the prostitute were observed in an alley engaging in sexual activity. When the prostitute spotted the officers, King sped away, nearly hitting one of them. King later explained that he thought the vice officers were robbers trying to kill him. No charges were filed.
June 26, 1992: King’s second wife reported to police that King had hit her and she feared for her life. King was handcuffed and taken to a police station, but his wife then decided against pressing charges.
July 16, 1992: King was arrested at 1:40 A.M. for driving while intoxicated. No charges were filed.
August 21, 1993: King crashed into a wall near a downtown Los Angeles nightclub. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.19. King was charged with violating his parole and sent for sixty day to an alcohol treatment center. He was also convicted on the DUI charge and ordered to perform twenty days of community service.
May 21, 1995: King was arrested for DUI while on a trip to Pennsylvania. King failed field sobriety tests, but refused to submit to a blood test. He was tried and acquitted.
July 14, 1995: King got into an argument with his wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. King was tried on all four charges, but found guilty only of hit-and-run driving.
March 3, 1999: King allegedly injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.”
September 29, 2001: King was arrested for indecent exposure and use of the hallucinogenic drug PCP.
I was sad to hear that Rodney King had died, still so young.
But mostly, I was sad because of why we know his name, why he will be remembered:
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