27 March 2012
On March 3rd, 1991, Rodney King and his two friends were pulled over for speeding In Los Angeles. King had just recently been released from prison for second degree robbery and was still on parole. The police officers on duty reported speeds of 110-115 mph and even called in a helicopter for back up although there was no police chase involved. The police audio tape explains how King circled through a dark neighborhood going 55mph in a 40-mph zone and the how the vehicle stopped at a red light but failed to yield to police. Based on the statements of the audio tape, it appears the officers pursued King because he had a criminal record. King was pulled over by at least 15 officers in patrol cars. Two witnesses observed King getting out of his vehicle, while following police orders, as he lay on the ground. The police on scene reported King trying to stand up while being handcuffed causing an officer to fall and he also allegedly reached into his pants pocket that raised police concerns. They also said King kicked and swung at the officers while he charged at them. The eye witnesses said they didn’t see him attempt to do any of these accusations. While King was lying on the ground handcuffed, he was tazed with a stun gun and struck across the face with a baton by the apprehending police officers. A third witness was able to videotape the incident and it shows King was hogtied on the side of the road being beaten repeatedly for a couple minutes by the Los Angeles police officers. King was struck in the head and shoulders multiple times and was even stomped on in the head and neck area. Witnesses said out of all the officers on scene, not one of them made any effort to stop the beating. After King was beaten the police dragged him down the street face down, still hogtied and handcuffed, where he was left all alone. The ambulance arrived minutes after this horrific beating occurred. King was loaded onto the stretcher, still hogtied, and was taken to the hospital. King’s two friends were simply let go after the ambulance left. When King was examined by doctors, they found nine skull fractures, a shattered eye socket and cheekbone, a broken leg, a concussion, injuries to both knees and nerve damage that left his face partially paralyzed. King was released without charges. A sergeant and three officers were the only ones charged with this horrendous crime. (Deutsch n.p.). This case definitely helped shed more light and public awareness about police brutality, especially towards the L.A.P.D. (Los Angeles Police Department). The L.A.P.D. has had a bad reputation for generations of the heartless treatment of minorities and the disrespect they display towards civilians. There have been hundreds of racial profiling complaints towards the LAPD. They have yet to consider a single one valid. The L.A.P.D has the lowest officer-to-resident ratio consisting of 8,300 officers serving a population over 3.4 million. White officers make up 61% of the L.A.P.D while Los Angeles’s population consists of about 60% of nonwhites. Some believe that white police officers don’t understand a lot of things that go on in these areas and that could potentially be one reason why some instances result in excessive force. Being a police officer is a perilous occupation where police are sometimes put in dangerous situations and excessive force is needed. Although police are able to use excessive force to protect and serve our country, there are many police officers who abuse their power and privileges. Many officers use extreme measures when it deems unnecessary which results in police brutality or even death. Police brutality has been in the public view for quite some time but not much has been done about it because most evidence either gets covered up or disregarded. While citizens worry about protecting themselves from criminals, they must also keep a watchful eye on those who are supposed to...
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