The Los Angeles Police Department's Chief Charlie Beck believes reforms that have reshaped the agency's approach to using force in the 20 years since the Rodney King incident make such an incident unlikely today.
Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the arrest that helped spark some of the worst rioting in U.S. history, Chief Beck said the LAPD now provides officers revamped use-of-force training, gets stricter civilain oversight, and has improved relationships with ethnic communities, reports the Associated Press.
On March 3, 1991, bystander George Holliday videotaped nine minutes of King's arrest at the end of a vehicle pursuit initiated by the California Highway Patrol. Four officers were tried and acquitted of the beating, which triggered rioting in Los Angeles in 1992 that resulted in 55 deaths and massive property damage.
For the 20-year anniversary of the Rodney King incident, POLICE Magazine has prepared several perspectives and collected others that paint a fuller picture of the incident's impact on law enforcement.
First, aggregated news items show a greater awareness by officers of citizen video from cellphones and other recording devices, as well as the news that King was stopped by Arcadia police on Wednesday for running a stop sign in Arcadia, Calif.
Also, former LAPD Capt. Greg Meyer, who worked in the agency at the time, gives you his perspective on the lessons agencies can learn from the incident.
POLICE Associate Editor Dean Scoville, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy who was on duty at the time, gives you his reaction to the rioting and tells you what he was doing at the time.
And lastly, Editor David Griffith explains the evolution of the TASER electronic control device, and notes that if the X26 had been available at the time, "the media would never have heard of Rodney King."
Also, we reached into the archives to find gang expert Richard Valdemar's blog post from June 2008, explaining "What Really Happened During the Rodney King Riots."
Enjoy our coverage, and stay safe out there!