a police chase in the early hours of this day in 1991, Rodney G King eventually
decides to stop his white Hyundai.
LAPD officers, led by Sergeant Stacey Koon, ordered King and the other two occupants
of the car, to get out of the vehicle and lie flat on the ground. King offered
some resistance by getting down on his hands and knees rather than lying on the
ground as requested.
Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Ted Briseno, and Roland Solano then tried to force
King to the ground. They shot him twice with a Taser.
was at this point that George Holliday, in an apartment across the road, started
recording the incident on his new video camera.
the 89 second clip, we see King getting up after the Taser shots before running
in the direction of officer Powell.
swings his baton hitting King on the side of the head. The video blurs and then
we see King attempting to rise and then Powell and Wind attack King in a torrent
of baton blows that prevented him from getting up.
had been struck as many as 56 times with the batons. He suffered a fractured leg,
multiple facial fractures, and numerous bruises and contusions. The police then
proceeded to downplay the incident, unawares of the existence of the video.
Rodney King was released without charge. On March 15, Sergeant Koon and officers
Powell, Wind, and Briseno were indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection
with the beating. They were acquitted which triggered the Los Angeles riots, the
USA's largest civil disturbance of the 20th century. 50 people were killed, more
than 2,000 were injured, and nearly $1 billion in property was destroyed.
George H Bush sent in troops to quell the riots.
April 17, 1993 a federal jury convicted Koon and Powell for violating King's rights
by their unreasonable use of force. Wind and Briseno were acquitted. On August
4, Koon and Powell were sentenced to two and a half years in prison for the beating