Human, Hero, and now Heaven-bound
by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Somewhere back in the late 80’s, Joan Rivers hosted a daytime TV talk show where the subject was about how ordinary people where thrust into life altering situations that affected the entire nation. One of the guests on the show was Rosa Parks. I had the privilege of escorting Ms. Parks to the show, and doing a post interview with both Ms. Parks and Joan Rivers. The “little act of sitting down” according to Rivers changed for ever the entire landscape of the Civil Rights Movement and justice in America.”
Well you might say that Rodney Glenn King was likewise one whose simple, ordinary life completely changed the course of history and put a city and a country’s racist behavior into the living room of millions of households in a way no public relations genius never could. And most likely in a manner that Mr. King would have cheerfully avoided, if he could – because he was beaten in the most vicious, vile hostile manner. Had he been a lesser man, he would have been dead.
Rodney King did not start out to be a catalyst for policing change. He definitely did not start out to be a martyr; nor did he start out to be an alcoholic. Like many African American youth, he was already marginalized by the time he was twelve years old, and “obsolete” by the time he was sixteen (as so eloquently outlined in Haki Madhubuti’s book Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?”). Not that Rodney didn’t have a loving, stable family life as a child – because he did. Not that he didn’t have a fairly decent education, though he had a learning disability – because he did. Not that he came from the ghetto – because he didn’t. Altadena, California is a beautiful, nearly suburban community nestled in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, where most of the homes are well kept – not expensive, but attractive; and most of the residents are (were?) Black, close-knit and supportive. I know because I was Town Council Representative for Altadena. We moved there for a better life and raise our children in a safe environment.
But, because Rodney King, like many of our youth, back in the day, had gotten involved in frivolous, dumb stuff – activities that were more self destructive in nature, than a menace to society – he was an ongoing target. Having already had his brush with the law, having spent some time incarcerated, and he was looking to complete his parole and build a better life. Mr. King was definitely not in a mode to have any additional brushes with the law enforcement community of California. He had already “paid his debt to society” and wasn’t looking to open up any more “accounts.” Unfortunately, like most African American youth, particularly those on the “left coast” Rodney King was profiled before anyone had a name for profiling.
The night CHiPs (California Highway Patrol-you remember the show, don’t you?) pulled him over for allegedly speeding in excess of 100MPH was March 3, 1991. Having moved out of Altadena, he was within feet of his home, which is no doubt where he was trying to get to when he got pulled over. He was probably frightened out of his mind that night at the potentiality for being arrested, so he panicked and made several mistakes. Mistakes that, had he been white, would probably meant no more than a slap on the wrist.
But for Rodney King, who was driving while Black, and who refused to “bow” to their demands, the fear very nearly cost him his life. And when you look at it in retrospect – considering at all that he has gone through since that fateful evening, to his final death two days ago – it actually did. In point of fact, Rodney’s life, any semblance of quality. or any dream he may have ever had for peace, tranquility, a family, fun – was dashed forever that night; and later trampled to death under the feet of Black brothers and sisters, who understandably responded to the travesty fostered by the gross miscarriage of justice in a lilly white Simi Valley community, by trying to tear LA apart. Now when I say “trampled” I’m not blaming the brothers and sisters for their reaction. Somebody needed to get their attention. And they definitely had to put them on notice that they were “Mad as hell, and weren’t going to take it any more!” I am referring to the obvious vendetta the LAPD and CHiPs have had against Rodney King ever since.
While we are clear that we would have preferred not have had a riot happen, to try to give Rodney King credit or blame for the reaction of the Black community clearly indicates that the meanstream and the judicial system is still clueless when it comes to Black people’s individual and collective lack of tolerance for their racist, abusive b.s. (“Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge – I’m trying not to lose my head – ah huh huh! It’s like a jungle out there; some time I wonder how I keep from going under!” – you remember that one, don’t you?)
The 20th anniversary of the acquittal was April 29, 1992. LA exploded for three days. Some mention may have been made in the meanstream media about the significance of the date, but by and large, most of us in the greater African American communities of the US pretty much overlooked the date completely. And perhaps that was as it should have been. It appeared that Rodney King may have moved on and life was actually beginning to be kind of normal. I mean now you could hear some comedic reference to his tearful plea, “Can’t we all just get along?” and kind of laugh. We all got the joke – the answer in the main even now is “no” not really. But we understood the context of the joke. So we’d laugh and continue doing whatever we were doing.
But the headlines that flashed across our collective computer screens on Fathers’s Day, caught all of us off guard. I could hear the Black community yell out collectively “Oh Hellllll No!” What the heck could have happened? The rest of the report slowly scrawled across the screen, “found in the bottom of his pool by his fiancee…waiting for autopsy to determine if there was foul play.”
I was stunned, but not so much that I didn’t surmise that even if they found him bound and gagged with bricks around his feet, the real foul play did not begin there, but had been present in his life for quite some time – and at the very least, from the night those officers beat, kicked, punched and tasered that brother – thinking that no one was observing their behavior.
And had it not been for George Holliday’s digital camera documenting their depravity so all the world could see that we were not just imagining the hostility, racism and unfairness on the part of the so call reps of “law and order,” it is doubtful that Rodney would have come forth, pressed charges, or even been compensated the paltry sum he received from the City of Los(t) Angeles. No one would have believed that it is real and continues to take the lives of African American and African youth across this nation. Even then a “Black man in California had no rights that a white man was bound to respect (a’la Plessy v. Ferguson – 1854), was indelibly driven home by their actions. And if we haven’t erected a monument in honor of Mr. Holliday, we should.
As the news of Rodney King’s death continues to trickle in, there have been some fairly hostile commentaries posted on *Yahoo (see below), and other websites, deriding him, the Black community, even President Obama. Some make reference to his mysterious and untimely death -no doubt ignorant whites, who had absolutely viewed Rodney King as a threat to their racist way of life; others who had no idea who Rodney King was; just that he was Black. It was evident their mindset is no different from the mindset of those racist cops when they beat the living daylights out of Rodney for allegedly running a stop sign, and for allegedly being drunk – none of which was ever proven; and certainly none of which warranted their brutal behavior.
The Rodney King that I met ten years ago, was this soft spoken, polite, mannerable, and very handsome young man. You could see that he was truly the same one who made the tearful plea for all of us to “just get along.” That genteel spirit and good heart were still there, ten years later. His ordeal of being beaten by deranged cops had done little to change that. Though he had been thrust into the limelight he had neither become egotistical nor bitter. He had a bright, genuine smile. And he looked you in the eyes when he talked to you – at least he did that night.
The fact that Rodney King was found dead almost 20 years to the day of the LA riots, which were precipitated by a racist, all white jury doing what they do best – letting the perpetrators go scot-free – is puzzling to many of us. It just doesn’t make sense. There are many of us who are concerned that he was somehow the victim of fowl play – again.
You see, even though the federal government stepped in, prosecuted and incarcerated the perpetrators, Rodney King has never seen a moment of peace since March 3. *He subsequently suffered repeated “arrests” over and over and over again – can you spell police harassment, boys and girls? Many of us feel this was more the residual of police brutality being visited upon him because their fellow rogue cops served prison time, than because of any real criminal behavior on his part.
Rodney really was “dead” when they incarcerated him for being a “thug”. He was most assuredly the victim of the assassination of his soul, brought on by post-traumatic stress syndrome for having been beaten severely within an inch of his life He did not hit anyone. He did not have a weapon. He was not running from the scene of a crime. His self pride, unfortunately, would not allow him to “bow” before those rednecks who wore badges and considered themselves representatives of the “law.” (okay it was three white cops and a Latino – close enough).
As Min. Farrakhan often says, “They meant if for evil, but God meant it for good!” Had it not been for that video, which was played throughout the world, catapulting Rodney on the national and international scene, in a way no one could have ever predicted, he might have really ended up just another victim. But Rodney King became the poster boy for all Black males who have been suffering the heinous egregious miscarriage of justice at the hands of white racists for centuries.
Rodney really should have sued the city big time for what happened to him. He should have been able to collect “big time,” triple the paltry $3.8 million he received – most of which was eaten up in legal and medical bills; and a shyster lawyer who ripped him off. They should have paid for a lifetime of therapy for the pain, suffering, flashbacks and harassment that have ensued since that horrible night.
At least that’s what I told him when I met him ten years ago, in 2002, when he was honored by Jimi Holloway at his annual MLK Event at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. You see, Rodney, was a former constituent of mine. As I mentioned earlier, I was town council representative for his district in Altadena, until I moved back to New York in 1984. And while I didn’t know Rodney personally, he certainly remembered me because of the impact I had on that unincorporated community, which at the time, had nearly become a waste and sewage dumpsite for Pasadena. I was able to stop that and reinstate Lincoln Park, the only recreational center in the predominantly Black community, and make it available to the youth. According to Rodney, he and his friends used to come to play at the center; while his parents attended my monthly community action meetings.
At the time I was not aware of the tie-in, and was trying to conduct an interview with him after he received the award from Jimi. But, instead, he interviewed me!! He asked me why I left Altadena. When I told him that I was homesick for New York, he stated, emphatically: “But you did so much for us. We had a lot of fun. We need you back; they don’t do anything for the kids anymore.” I was totally flattered. I told him that if there had been any way that I could have brought Altadena back with me to New York, I would have done so. But I also had to admit that I really had no love for California – especially in light of the way he had been beaten and brutalized. I had seen far too many African American youth forced to lay face down in the middle of LA street, with white cops standing over them. The fear of that same thing that happened to him happening to my own son was the other reason that I moved back to New York City. I also explained that I had to bring my three children back to New York City where they would get a decent education. I was afraid my son would end up being marginalized in much the same way so many Black youth have been systematically done there. He gave me a big hug, and promised to stay in touch with me (he didn’t have a computer and was not internet savvy at the time). That, however was our first, last and only conversation.
Though I’m cognizant of the fact that what he had suffered there was not the exclusive province of California’s police department, our youth get shot in the back here as well, I always felt I had a better fighting chance in New York of making sure my children had the advantage of better educational opportunities and programs than they had there. And, I was right.
The years has done little to erase the nightmare of having been severely attacked by rabid red necks. Over those past ten years, he said, he had tried to adjust, but sometimes, “I get those flashbacks, you know. And then I pray them away,” he said in a half-joking/half-serious manner. Rodney was touched that we in New York thought he was a hero. He said he never thought people in New York cared about people in California. I assured him that Black people cared about Black people no matter where they lived – even in California.
Rodney had body guards around him who, it turned out later, were his cousins trying to make sure they were there for him and nothing else bad happened to him, stated that he was so excited when he got the invitation to come to New York. He was afraid that we wouldn’t know what to say, or that the people wouldn’t like him. As it turned out, at least for that evening, he got the hero’s welcome he deserved.
He was brutalized for what would have been a slap on the wrist had he been white!! I know, it’s a cliche` we use frequently in the Black community. Unfortunately it is also the truth. The ugly truth. The level of condemnation from the comments on Yahoo show me that there are still truly some Ugly Americans out there who are part and parcel of what makes this the most racist, backwards country on the planet. Some of the more disgusting comments are listed below.
I assume that most of the writers are caucasian. The sad thing is that there are few, if any, comments from Black people. And I think Rodney deserves some kind words spoken in his behalf. I think we definitely should be more aware of what’s being spewed out over the internet in reference to us – and not just relegate our attention Facebook and Twitter. By the way, if you feel moved to do so, please do comment on, or respond to these vicious posts (my comments are in parentheses).
As an addendum, I have also included headlines from the Los Angeles Times which I think show that there was an ongoing pattern of harassment perpetrated against Rodney King to make his life a living hell! If you can’t access them in your browser, you may be able to cut and paste them.
Catherine777 • San Diego, California • wrote: He was an addict then & he died an addict. No great loss to this world. (was this ever verified. I don’t ever remember him using heavy drugs) possession of PCP was a misdemeanor.
LibYahoouser • wrote: One parasite bites the dust….at the bottom of the pool. Good riddance..Obama is next .back to Kenya!! (President Obama is an American born citizen. By the way I’m forwarding this to the Secret Service as a threat against the President’s life – you twit.)
Whowouldathunkit… • Canton, Ohio •If I were black and 80 cops beat me to death I wouldn’t want Sharptongue in the same city as my rotting corpse, unless the cops promised to beat him to death as well. (it’s obvious from your ignorant statement that you are of the same redneck tribe as those who beat Mr. King. If you had been “Black” you’d be more than grateful to have had Rev; Sharpton’s sharp tongue speaking in your behalf).
Gramma Joanie • El Paso, Texas OK and I got a ABC breaking news on my cell phone about his death??? This is Breaking news? NOT who freaking cares? (coming from a redneck right wing community such as El Paso, I over understand your major maladjustment. Since it is clear that you neither value or respect one of God’s creatures, I totally understand how it would escape your understanding that each and every life on this planet – Black, blue, white, green or purple – is precious and sacred. You can turn in your human suit at the door. You’ve officially stepped into the rank of the inhumane -gramma joanie – I hope your grandkids didn’t inherit your warped genes.)
Craig Tucker • Sure black people had the right to be mad, but that doesnt give room for a few dozen idiots to go run a muck. I feel bad for the other black people who have to associate themselves even with race to such morons who sparked the LA Riots because it gives them all a bad name. (FYI the “morons” who sparked the LA Riots were the redneck racist jurors, who acquitted the racist white cops and the judge who backed them up by letting them go free as though it was all completely hunky dorey now that justice had been mis-served. Not the Black men and women who stood up to show their displeasure. Only a moron such as yourself would say such a thing. When you say “run amuck” how would you characterize the behavior of the cops with nightsticks beating a man who is already on the ground in a fetal position? Civilized? And while I am not in favor of riots, especially when they destroy our neighborhoods, instead of the neighborhood of the perpetrators, I think the Black people of California are to be applauded for making it patently clear that they were not going to stand idly by while these miscreants hiding behind badges were allowed to walk.
Paul (response):more than a few dozen. there were a few dozen killed during those riots. all blacks should condemn actions like those.(and remember, that whites should have condemned the actions of those cops, as well – it works both ways, n’est ce pas?)
Platano • Rodney King didn’t ask any one to do riots….on the contrary, he came up on TV to ask people to get alone (ALONG)….remember? (0ne the few intelligent comments, and the response to his statement was negative because he wrote “alone” instead of “along”)
Whowouldathunkit… • Canton, Ohio • “Through all that he had gone through with his beating and personal demons, he was never one to not call for reconciliation and for his people to overcome and forgive,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement on Sunday. Strange that those particular words are coming out of Sharptongue, because during his years in the spot light he has NEVER preached them in his diatribes and rantings. In fact Rev Al generally oozes hatred and racism. (NOT SO, YOU LIAR!! BUT I GUESS IT SERVES THE PURPOSE OF THE RACIST TO TRY TO POINT THE FINGER OF BLAME AWAY FROM HIS OWN BEHAVIOR.)
Anyhow, RIP Rodney, you paid your dues, and left us with probably one of the more profound yet simple reminders of who we are, “… can we all get along? Can we get along?” You also left with a serious reminder of how terrible of a place LA really is…”Come to L.A. where we treat you like a king…Rodney King.” (That may well be the most intelligent thing you’ve said thus far.) Now the police and press need to find someone new to beat up!” (As much as I dislike the derogatory remarks this person made, there is also a ring of truth in what he said about the overall tenor of LAPD – let’s don’t forget how they also tried to frame OJ Simpson).
tv girl • Rohnert Park, California • RIP Mr. King – (she was one of a very few who gave his passing the respect it deserved.)
In an article entltled, “Rodney King seen as catalyst for policing change” AP’s Linda Deutsch, wrote: “Rodney King, who died Sunday after a troubled life, never meant to change the Los Angeles Police Department — but that’s what he ended up doing.”
I concur, Rodney King was an “accidental hero” who changed the very course of law enforcement in racist, redneck California, and had broad rippling effects on policing in general throughout the US for years to come. Had it not been for the “coincidental” purchase of a digital camera by George Holliday, and the resulting video capture of the heinous beating of Mr. King by the LAPD, this entire incidence would no doubt have gone unnoticed, been conveniently swept under a rug, or written away with the bureaucratic b.s. they have gotten away with for decades. But not so in this case. Played out over television screen after television screen, in household after household, the brutality tinsel town tried to hide under the panache of stardom, better known as Hollywierd, broke through in a way no horror movie, or civil right movement could ever have portrayed.
As Deutsch correctly stated, “The mention of King’s name will always recall painful video images of his 1991 beating and the following year’s Los Angeles riots.” And now we have an even bigger tragedy looming, now that Rodney King, just a few scant weeks from the 20th anniversary of the horrific experience, is found dead in his home, at the bottom of his pool by his fiancee. And there are many of us on both coasts who want to know what the hell happened?
The beatings precipitated overdue reforms in the LAPD. Police chief Darryl Gates was fired; and a commission headed by Warren Christopher – later President Bill Clinton’s secretary of state — recommended a number of reforms. They put an end to the “lifetime chief.” From the 50’s to that date a police could remain in place for decades. William Parker, for whom Parker Center – LA’s police headquarters – is named, was there for decades. The virtual lifetime tenure meant that a lot of stuff was glossed over. According to the LA Times, Los Angeles was only 60% white, but they still occupied the communities treating Blacks largely as though they were on a plantation, and the police were the overseers. The police were out of control.
The Christopher Commission ushered in eight years of federal oversight of the LAPD, after long pattern of abuses. Many of the reforms proposed by the Christopher commission were mandated by the federal consent decree. Under police Chief William Bratton in the 2000s, the department focused on community policing, hired more minority officers and worked to resolve tensions between officers and minority communities who continued to complain about racial profiling and excessive use of force. It became more perilous to pull someone over for driving while black without true probable cause.
Further, King has become a national symbol of civil rights and for the anti-police brutality and anti-racial-profiling movement, the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “It was his beating that made America focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct,” he said.
The city’s current police chief, Charlie Beck, agreed that King’s beating served as a catalyst for reform. “What happened on that cool March night over two decades ago forever changed me and the organization I love,” he said in a statement. “His legacy should not be the struggles and troubles of his personal life but the immensely positive change his existence wrought on this city and its police department.In those days, you might have claimed excessive force but there would have been no way to prove it,” he said. “Now, you see case after case with videos. People watch their conduct because everyone has a cellphone and can take a video. But it was unusual then.”
Below are chronological headlines and excerpts from the Los Angeles Times about Rodney King over the past 20 years. See if you pick up a pattern of harassment here as well:
Crisis In The LAPD: The Rodney King Case: April, 1991: The March 3 videotaped beating of motorist Rodney G. King prompted calls for Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates’ resignation. chief’s comments: “One incident doesn’t indict an entire department.”
L.A. Police to Experiment With Use of Video Camera in Patrol Car April 4, 1991 |A patrol car-mounted video camera that could be used to record the behavior of suspects, or the behavior of police officials and proposed after Los Angeles officers beating of motorist Rodney G. King.
CHP Officers Face Discipline in King Beating April 23, 1991 |- A California Highway Patrol lieutenant has been recommended for demotion, and a captain and sergeant who work with him face suspensions without pay for failing to investigate the Rodney G. King beating quickly enough, The Times has learned.
King Is Issued Warning After New Traffic Stop: May 17, 1991 | Altadena motorist Rodney G. King was stopped by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy over the weekend and warned for driving a car with an expired registration, tinted windows and failure to have a driver’s license in his possession, authorities said Thursday.
Catalyst to Investigation: The Rodney King Case – July 10, 1991 A beating by police stirs a furor: Just after midnight on March 3, a man with a home video camera captured the Rodney G. King beating on videotape, above, unleashing charges of rampant police brutality and demands that the LAPD be investigated. The incident involving King precipitated the formation of the Christopher Commission.
Driver Charged in Crash That Killed King Witness July 9, 1991 The driver of the car in which a witness in the Rodney G. King case was killed last month was charged Monday with vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving, Deputy Dist. Atty. David R. Disco said. Robert Gilliam, 26, of Altadena will be arraigned July 29 in Pasadena Municipal Court on charges stemming from the deaths of Freddie Helms and Bobbie Dixon, both 20-year-old Altadena residents and passengers in Gilliam’s car when it crashed.
Recovery Is Slow for Rodney King, His Lawyer Says: December 31, 1991 | Ten months after his videotaped image under the repeated blows of police batons and boots was captured for all time, Rodney G. King continues to live in a world of doctors, psychologists and a fear of the police, his attorney says. King has moved out of his (Altadena) home to a secluded apartment in Los Angeles, where he spends long afternoons watching nature films on television. He rarely goes out, and never without a bodyguard.
Rodney King Arrested on Drunk Driving Charge in Orange County July 17, 1992 |Rodney G. King,was arrested early Thursday in a restaurant parking lot on suspicion of drunk driving, the California Highway Patrol reported. Officers said they had followed another traffic violator into a restaurant parking lot about 1:40 a.m. when they noticed a vehicle back out of a parking space in an “erratic manner” before skidding to a stop and hitting a concrete block, said Officer Angel Johnson, a CHP spokeswoman.
LOS ANGELES : Rodney King Told to Visit His Parole Officer Weekly: July 30, 1992 Rodney G. King was ordered to visit his parole officer weekly instead of twice a month because of his latest arrest for investigation of drunken driving, officials said. It was the third time King had been arrested after being beaten on March 3, 1991, 27, was on parole for armed robbery at the time he was beaten and was being required to see his parole officer twice a month.
LOS ANGELES : Council to Hire Lawyer for Claim Linked to King Case, September 3, 1992 The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to hire an outside attorney to represent the city in a claim filed by a police officer, Paul Gebhart, who witnessed the Rodney G. King beating. Los Angeles Police Officer Paul Gebhart, who is listed as a defendant in King’s civil lawsuit against the city, filed a workers’ compensation claim, allegedly for stress.
Doctor Says Fall, Not Baton Blow, Left Sand Grain in King’s Face March 31, 1993 APA single grain of sand removed from Rodney G. King’s face months after his beating was seized upon by the defense in the trial of four police officers Tuesday to show that King’s injuries were caused by a fall. Dr. Dallas Long III, an emergency room physician from Irvine who did not treat King, said he examined medical records and found that on May 15, 1991, King had some scar tissue removed from his face. During the procedure, he said, a particle of sand was found embedded in a scar.
Profile: Rodney G. King – April 19, 1993 Rodney King did “not want to see the pain and the destruction after the verdict that took place last May and April.” –Attorney Milton Grimes, when asked what his client had said before Saturday’s verdicts in the federal trial were announced. Rodney G. King, the central figure in the trials of the four LAPD officers charged with beating him, has kept a low profile since Saturday’s verdict
Koon Criticizes Briseno as ‘Traitor’ Out to Save Himself April 20, 1993 – Convicted LA Police Stacey C. Koon, in the Rodney G. King civil rights trial, said that acquitted co-defendant Theodore J. Briseno – who said his colleagues were out of control when they beat King – was a “coward,” a “rat” and a “traitor.” Officer Laurence M. Powell was also convicted.
Get Involved to Bring Change, Blacks Told : Race relations: Now that Rodney G. King federal civil rights trial is over, panel tries to plot a course for African-Americans wondering, ‘Where do we go from here?’ April 25, 1993 | The black community in Orange County should get more involved in sparking change and pushing for social, economic and religious equality following the verdicts of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King, a panel of African-American leaders said Saturday. “The verdicts are over and the decision has been made,” said Pastor Isaac L. Patrick, who organized the forum at the Gospel Light Church of God in Christ in Santa Ana. “My concern is: Where do we go from here?”
Tearful Briseno Insists He Tried to Stop Beating : Courts: ‘Is it only me that’s admitted something wrong happened out there?’ he says in testimony at trial of Rodney G. King’s civil case. April 27, 1994 | A former police officer tearfully testified Tuesday that he tried to stop th e beating of Rodney G. King and implored fellow officers in the courtroom: “Is it only me that’s admitted something wrong happened out there?” Theodore J. Briseno, who broke ranks with his Los Angeles Police Department colleagues early on and called the beating unjustified, choked with emotion as he blurted out his feelings about being considered a pariah by some police officers.
Koon Again Testifies That King Beating Was Justified April 27, 1994 | Dressed in a blue prison uniform and wearing plastic sandals, former Los Angeles Police Sgt. Stacey C. Koon testified again Tuesday that the beating of Rodney G. King was justified. It was the third trial in which Koon, who was the senior officer at the Lake View Terrace beating scene on March 3, 1991, had testified that neither he nor the officers under his command had violated Los Angeles Police Department policy in subduing King.
City Offers to Pay Damages in Rodney King Beating February 25, 1994 – Los Angeles, in an effort to put the Rodney G. King beating case behind it, offered Thursday to admit liability for the motorist’s beating and pay “actual damages” for King’s injuries–a settlement a federal judge indicated he will accept. But U.S. District Judge John Davies said the proposal, which he called “unusual and imaginative,” probably won’t save the city from a lengthy civil trial in which the now-familiar issues of the police beating are replayed through the testimony of witnesses.
Los Angeles : Judge to Review Order That King Pay School District September 20, 1994 A federal judge agreed Monday to reconsider his order that Rodney G. King pay nearly $238,000 in legal fees to the Los Angeles Unified School District, which was ultimately dropped from the civil lawsuit stemming from his beating by Los Angeles police. On Aug. 11, U.S. District Judge John G.
Rodney King Is Charged With Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania May 23, 1995 – Rodney G. King was charged with drunk driving here after he refused to take a blood-alcohol test, police said. Officers stopped King about 11:30 p.m. Sunday after he was involved in a one-car accident and tried to make a U-turn near New Castle, according to the Union Township police report.
Decision Delayed on Filing Charges Against Rodney King August 17, 1995 Rodney G. King showed up in Alhambra Municipal Court on Wednesday as ordered on his domestic violence arrest last month, but a judge released him after prosecutors said they have yet to file charges.
Fete Planned for Former Officer Powell : Benefit: Politicians hope to raise $25,000 for policeman convicted in Rodney G. King beating. October 28, 1995 – The evening after former Los Angeles Police Officer Laurence M. Powell–convicted in the videotaped beating of Rodney G. King–is to be released from a halfway house, he will be honored at a “homecoming welcome” fund-raiser hosted by an array of conservative politicians. The dinner, scheduled for Dec. 1995. San Gabriel Valley : Trial Set for Rodney King in Assault, Spousal Abuse Case – January 26, 1996 – Rodney G. King is scheduled to face a jury trial April 1 in Alhambra Municipal Court on misdemeanor assault and spousal abuse charges for allegedly striking his estranged wife with his car during an argument last summer.
Rodney King Acquitted in Pennsylvania DUI Case – March 30, 1996 -A Pennsylvania jury Friday acquitted Rodney G. King on a charge of drunk driving, after a distant relative claimed that it was he, and not King, who was driving a rental car that ran off the road last May in rural Lawrence County.
King Files Malpractice Suit Against Former Attorney August 13, 1996 – Rodney G. King has sued his former attorney for malpractice, contending that lawyer Steven Lerman misappropriated money won in a civil suit against the city of Los Angeles stemming from King’s 1991 beating by police. In the suit, filed in Superior Court on Friday, King alleges that Lerman has failed to comply with repeated requests to fully account for money awarded to King. In April 1994, a jury awarded King $3.8 Million
Rodney King Serving 90 Days for Hit-and-Run August 22, 1996 – Rodney G. King is serving a 90-day jail term for a hit-and-run incident involving his estranged wife, lost an appeal of his 1996 conviction for the Alhambra incident. King reported to the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail on Aug. 4 and is serving his sentence separated from the general population “due to his notoriety or celebrity.”
Rodney King in Legal Quagmire – August 16, 2000 – Nearly a decade after he was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police, Rodney G. King says he is still taking a beating–from his lawyers. He says they have made more money on his case than he has and, by his reckoning, have cheated him out of more than $1 million. “I feel like this,” King testified last year in a deposition in a civil lawsuit against some of them. “I feel like first I took an awful beating from the police, and now my own lawyers are beating up on me.”
Drug Charge Filed Against Rodney King – August 31, 2001 – Rodney G. King was charged Thursday with being under the influence of the drug PCP a misdemeanor charge. King, 36, was arrested Tuesday in nearby Claremont after a motel clerk called police to say that a man appeared to be intoxicated or on drugs (really?). The Altadena resident was freed on his own recognizance and ordered to appear for a hearing on Oct. happened there also in 1991.
Rodney King Sentenced to Year in Drug Center: October 27, 2001 | From Times Staff Reports – Rodney G. King was sentenced Friday to one year in a drug treatment center after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges in three cases, to three counts of being under the influence of PCP and one count of indecent exposure to one year at the American Recovery Center in Pomona.
Ron Paul’s racist link: December 21, 2011 – In 1992, Ron Paul, now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, published a newsletter called the “Ron Paul Political Report.” That year, the report published a special edition on “racial terrorism,” a favorite theme. It included an observation about the Los Angeles riots, which erupted after a Ventura County jury acquitted four police officers charged with beating Rodney G. King. “Order was only restored in L.A.,” the publication opined, “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.
According to this most recent edition of the LA Times: “King was found dead in his backyard pool early Sunday morning. Police found no alcohol or drug paraphernalia near the pool and said foul play wasn’t suspected.”
Author Lou Cannon said. in his book, “Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD,” the real tragedy of Rodney King was that he never got the help he needed, King clearly had neurological problems and addiction issues, and learning difficulties as a child which were never addressed. “He wasn’t a bad person. He just didn’t know how to behave.”
I truly hope Rodney King will be remembered lovingly as the young man who stood up for himself and all of us. He made mistakes that all humans do; but he was moving forward with his life. Spread the word that Rodney G. King was an absolutely our hero, and we celebrate him, now and forever. Condolences to his family and the African American community.
STAY BLESSED &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com
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