Rodney King Research Paper

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Rodney King was a black taxi driver who became a symbol of racial tension for the United States in the early 1990’s. Forced out of his car and brutally beaten to a pulp by four white Los Angeles police officers on tape, King suffered 11 skull fractures, kidney damage and physical/emotional trauma. Charged with use of excessive force on King, the officers’ jury consisted of ten white people, one Latino person and one Asian person. All of the officers were initially acquitted of their charges, sparking complete outrage across the nation. In Los Angeles, massive riots broke out over six days, from April 29th to May 4th. The media extensively covered the widespread violence among minorities in LA, and the lack of intervention by enforcement and…show more content…
In an article uploaded onto the BBC on April 29th, 2012, it was verified that an independent party was commissioned to investigate the King beating. The results of the report detailed a culture of racism and abuse within the LAPD, where excessive force was not only tolerated when used upon suspects, but also often covered up by fellow officers in a code of silence. What differed from these incidents and the King incident is that the beating of King was videotaped and then prominently displayed on television. Once the nation found out about the brutality shown towards the people of Los Angeles through the police force, the LAPD had no authority over the vicinity of people they were supposed to protect and guard. In the initial outbreaks of riots, the people were left to defend themselves by any means. Eventually, there were over 13,000 military soldiers sent into California to restore order. Later, it was found that instead of stopping the riots all together, the goal of the LAPD and the military was to prevent the riots from reaching the affluent white suburbs of Los Angeles. After the military finally gained control of the situation, there had been an estimated one billion dollars of damage done to the city of Los Angeles. There were also more than 16,000 crimes incited by the riots, along with…show more content…
The shooting of a 15-year-old black girl named Latasha Harlings by a Korean storekeeper a year before the riots already had bad blood mixing between blacks and Asians. Soon-Ja Du (the storekeeper) was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and faced 16 years in prison; instead, she was given 300 hours of community service and five years’ probation. In retaliation, blacks began to demolish Korean property. This went on without much retaliation from Korean citizens up until “Sa-I-Gu,” meaning “four-two-nine” in Korean, representing the first day of the official riots (4/29). From here, Korean storekeepers and families wielded weapons in public in order to let the world know that they would guard their livelihoods by any means possible. The primary causes of the insecure feelings between blacks and Koreans were the misconceptions that two radically different cultures had for each other. For one, blacks believed that Koreans were exploitative, rude and unfriendly in the way they handled their business and communicated with others. What they failed to realize was the fact that it was cultural customs that prevented Koreans from becoming explicitly friendly. On the other hand, Koreans viewed blacks as lazy, poor and violent when in reality, it was the economic and social issues that portrayed blacks in a negative light to Koreans. While the riots were centralized on Rodney King, the

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