Rodney King Forgives Officers Who Beat Him
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM – Rodney King, who became a symbol for civil rights and police brutality in 1991, was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool in Rialto, California on Sunday.
King was 25 years old and on parole from a robbery conviction when he was stopped by police for speeding on March 3, 1991. According to the Detroit Free Press, four Los Angeles police officers hit him more than 50 times with batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns.
King suffered a broken eye socket, numerous skull fractures, and facial nerve damage in the beating. Meanwhile, a man videotaped most of the incident and gave a copy to a TV station.
Before his death, King said he had forgiven the officers involved in his beating.
“Yes, I’ve forgiven them, because I’ve been forgiven many times,” he said last year, 20 years after the beating. “I have to be able to forgive — for the future, for the younger generation coming behind me, so… they can understand it and if a situation like that happened again, they could deal with it a lot easier.”
After the Rodney King beating, a three-month trial took place in predominantly white Simi Valley, and three of the officers were acquitted of all charges. There were no black members on the jury. A year later, two of the officers were found guilty of civil rights charges.
As a result of the 1991 verdict, Los Angeles faced a series of fiery riots over three days that killed 55 people and injured more than 2,000. During the third day of riots, King said: “People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?”