Rodney King, the man famously beaten by four white police officers on March 3rd, 1991 in Los Angeles after a high speed chase has been making the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. He was arrested last night on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after police observed him commit a number of driving offences.
After a mugshot and lovely orange boiler suit were dispensed King spent the night incarcerated and his bail was set at $2,500.
It’s not the first time his driving habits have landed him in trouble but at least this time he was not exposed to the same police brutality which ultimately led to the aquittal of the four white LAPD officers and rioting in LA which led to 53 deaths, billions of dollars in collateral damage and 3 days of looting, mugging, murder and a police siege on the city streets.
Prior to the LA riots of April 1992 King had been a frequent arrestee after a string of drug and drink related crimes as well as possession of firearms. Clearly not the brightest individual he never seemed to learn from his mistakes and the events which led to his savage beating at the hands of police officers was also fuelled by his fear that whilst on parole and under the influence he would be sent back to prison.
Ironically that didn’t happen but the barbaric beating he received which left him with severe head trauma and broken limbs was filmed by a local resident whose video was used as evidence in the court case. The officers were found not guilty of police brutality and within hours of the decision black youths began an all out assault on southern Los Angeles.
King became an icon for black rights and the violence he endured exposed an ugly, racist underbelly to American society which such iconic figures as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King tried so hard to bring to the public’s attention in previous decades.
Though the dust and ashes have long since settled on LA, there is still an uneasiness where King is concerned, for although his plight was a terrible one it is hard to feel sympathy for a man who is incapable of kicking the habits which continually lead him to trouble and he clearly needs a stint at somewhere like the Betty Ford Center to straighten out.
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