Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Looking Back At The Police Assault Of Rodney King, And What It Means Today

5b2bf76a4488b3000926d0e9-eight.jpg
This 1991 amateur video captured the beating of Rodney King
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

On this day, 30 years ago, Rodney King was beaten by four L.A. police officers so severely that he was reportedly unrecognizable. A video of the assault, taken by George Holliday, a bystander, was released to the public a few days later, causing widespread outrage.

That video — and the acquittal of the officers in April of the following year — would lead to five historic days of unrest that left an indelible mark on Los Angeles.

On our newsroom’s public affairs show Air Talk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC, USC law professor Jody Armour and UCLA history professor Brenda Stevenson looked back on the beating of King on March 3, 1991 and the ensuing outcry, and what it means today.

“There's something really powerful about witnessing, bearing witness, visually seeing these images,” said Armour. “It woke up the conscience of many Americans and moved people to the streets and resulted in real change here in L.A.”

Support for LAist comes from