Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rodney King - Icon Of Oppression

Rodney King passed away of a heart ailment on June 17, 2012.

He will always be remembered as an icon of oppression, a reminder that all is not well with non-European, especially African Americans in the Land of the Free.

Read all about him from Wikipedia.

Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was the victim in a police brutality incident involving the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991.

A bystander, George Holliday, videotaped much of the incident from a distance.

The footage showed seven officers surrounding the solitary King, with several LAPD officers repeatedly striking a helpless King with their batons while the other officers stood by watching, without taking any action to stop the beating.

A portion of this footage was aired by news agencies around the world, causing public outrage that increased tension between the local Black community and the LAPD and increased anger over police brutality, racism and social inequalities in Los Angeles.

Four LAPD officers were later tried in a state court for the beating.

Three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict for the fourth.

The announcement of the acquittals sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

A later federal trial for civil rights violations ended with two of the officers found guilty and sent to prison and the other two officers acquitted.

King was born in Sacramento, California, to Odessa King, who had four other children.

His father, Ronald, died at 42. King grew up in Pasadena, California.

In November 1989, King robbed a store in Monterey Park, California.

He threatened to hit the South Korean store owner with an iron bar he was carrying, then hit him with a pole.

King stole US$200 in the robbery.

He was convicted, sentenced to two years imprisonment and released after serving a year.

At the time of the beating, King was twice divorced and had three children.

On the night of March 2, 1991, King and two passengers, Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms, were driving west on Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.

Prior to driving on the Foothill Freeway, the three men had spent the night watching a basketball game and drinking at a friend's house in Los Angeles.

After being tested five hours after the incident, King's blood-alcohol level was found to be just under the legal limit.

At 12.30 am, Officers Tim and Melanie Singer, a husband-and-wife duo of the California Highway Patrol, spotted King's car speeding.

The officers then pursued King at high speed.

According to King's own statements, he refused to pull the car over because he thought a driving under the influence test would violate his parole for a previous robbery conviction.

King exited the freeway, and the chase continued through residential streets.

By this point, several police cars and a helicopter had joined in the pursuit.

After approximately 16 km, officers cornered King's car.

The first five LAPD officers to arrive at the scene were Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Rolando Solano.

Officer Tim Singer ordered King and his two passengers to exit the vehicle and lie face down on the ground.

The passengers complied and were taken into custody without incident.

King initially remained in the car. When he finally did emerge, he acted bizarrely: giggling, patting the ground and waving to the police helicopter overhead.

King then grabbed his buttocks.

Officer Melanie Singer momentarily thought he was reaching for a gun.

She drew her gun and pointed it at King, ordering him to lie on the ground. King complied.

Singer approached King with her gun drawn, preparing to make the arrest.

At this point, Sergeant Stacey Koon intervened and ordered Officer Melanie Singer to holster her weapon.

Koon then ordered the four other LAPD officers at the scene — Briseno, Powell, Solano and Wind — to subdue and handcuff King in a manner called a "swarm", a technique that involves multiple officers grabbing a suspect with empty hands.

As the officers attempted to do so, King physically resisted.

Seeing this, Koon ordered all of the officers to fall back.

The officers later testified that they believed King was under the influence of the dissociative drug phencyclidine (PCP).

King's toxicology results tested negative for PCP.

Sergeant Koon then ordered the officers to stand clear.

King was standing and was not responding to Koon's commands.

Koon then fired a Taser into King's back.

King groaned, momentarily fell to his knees, then stood back and yelled for almost five seconds.

As George Holliday's videotape begins, King is on the ground.

He rises and moves toward Powell.

Solano termed it a "lunge," and said it was in the direction of Koon.

At this time, taser wires can be seen coming from King's body.

As King moves forward, Officer Powell strikes King with his baton.

The blow hits King's head, knocking him to the ground immediately.

Powell hits King several additional times with his baton.

The videotape shows Briseno moving in to try and stop Powell from swinging, and Powell then backing up.

Koon reportedly yelled "that's enough".

King then rises to his knees.

Powell and Wind continue to hit King with their batons while he is on the ground.

Koon acknowledged that he ordered the baton blows, directing Powell and Wind to hit King with "power strokes."

According to Koon, Powell and Wind used "bursts of power strokes, then backed off."

The videotape shows King apparently continuing to try to get up.

Koon orders the officers to hit his joints, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.

Finally, after 56 baton blows and six kicks, five or six officers swarm in and place King in both handcuffs and cordcuffs, restraining his arms and legs.

King is dragged on his stomach to the side of the road to await arrival of a rescue ambulance.

Several copwatch organisations were subsequently organised nationally to safeguard against police abuse, including an umbrella group, October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality.

King was taken to Pacifica Hospital immediately after his arrest.

He suffered a fractured facial bone, a broken right ankle, and numerous bruises and lacerations.

At Pacifica Hospital, where King was taken for initial treatment, nurses reported that the officers who accompanied King (including Wind) openly joked and bragged about the number of times King had been hit.

In 1993, King entered an alcohol rehabilitation programme and was placed on probation after crashing his vehicle into a block wall in downtown Los Angeles.

In July 1995, he was arrested by Alhambra police, who alleged that he hit his wife with his car, knocking her to the ground.

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of hit and run.

On August 27, 2003, King was arrested again for speeding and running a red light while under the influence of alcohol.

He failed to yield to police officers and slammed his vehicle into a house, breaking his pelvis.

In May 2008, King checked into the Pasadena Recovery Centre in Pasadena, California, where he filmed as cast member of the second season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which premiered in October 2008.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, who runs the facility, showed concern for King's lifestyle and said that King would die unless his addiction was treated.

On April 12, 2012, King released a statement to the media regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting. King said he was "grieving for Trayvon Martin" and stated how the scream on the audio of George Zimmerman's 911 call reminded him of his own screaming during his beating by the LAPD.