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

Share This


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

This 1991 amateur video captured the beating of Rodney King
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

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

Most Read