Rodney King LA Riots Analysis

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On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was caught by Los Angeles police after a high speed car chase. Police officers dragged him from his car and brutally beat him, a beating which was caught on tape and immediately seen by the country’s population. The four LAPD officers were indicted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive force. After a three month long trial, the jury acquitted the officers, sparking the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The beating of Rodney King was a watershed moment in American history. The subsequent trial and resulting Los Angeles Riots greatly reflect the troubled history between law enforcement and black citizens as well as the perpetual social inequality faced by the black population in the United States up to today.…show more content…
The fact that Black and Latino minorities were living in a policed state, whereby “ghetto residents might by force be obliged to obey the law, [but] they had no obligation to do so.” While at the time, it was simple to draw the connection between the Rodney King trial and the LA riots, subsequent analyses focused on background conditions of the affected communities and the relationship between the communities and the Los Angeles Police Department. In looking at community relations prior to the Rodney King case and subsequent LA riots, the law and order environment and its role in the Rodney King case can be seen quite clearly. Prior to the beating and trial, in the guise of controlling gang warfare and the war on drugs, policies of proactive policing were implemented. Proactive policing involved officers patrolling target neighbourhoods, seeking out ‘suspect’ individuals, routing surveillance and search procedures without warrants being required created a strained relationship between the LAPD and minority communities. “The Black gangs, frequently linked to narco-terrorism or Islamic jihad, have become the new Enemy Within justifying a domestic police

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