17 June 2012

Rodney King Dead at 47

Twenty-one years ago I was in high school when the video of Rodney King being beaten by members of the LAPD made international news.

I had already been following news stories about racist groups in Canada and the United States. The Heritage Front had started making headlines and was fast becoming the most influential hate groups Canada had experienced since the Saskatchewan Klan of the 1920s. In Saskatchewan, Carney Nerland of the Aryan Nations had just killed a First Nations trapper, Leo LaChance (he would later be convicted of manslaughter). In the United States, Years before that, neo-Nazis affiliated with Ton Metzger's White Aryan Resistance had murdered Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw; W.A.R was subsequently bankrupted as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1990 because Metzger's influence was proven to be a key factor in the murder.

However, it wasn't until the beating of Rodney King made headlines that I came to understand that systemic racism was pervasive in institutions that were supposed to be color blind.

Rodney King wasn't a saint. He himself admitted that he struggled with demons and in one of his last interviews he stated that he would always struggle with sobriety. In other words, he was as human as any one of us. But the assault he endured on March 3, 1991 did serve to make very public a reality that primarily Black men had been systematically targeted because of their ethnicity.

We here at ARC hope that Rodney King finds the peace that he struggled to find in life.

Rodney King, L.A. police 1990s beating victim, dies

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, has died, California police said Sunday. He was 47.

Police told the Cable News Network that King's fiancée found him dead at the bottom of a swimming pool in Rialto, east of Los Angeles.

Police responded to a call around sunrise on Sunday, CNN reported.

The Los Angeles riots erupted on April 29, 1992 when a mostly white jury acquitted three of the four officers accused of beating and kicking King and failed to convict the fourth.

A bystander with a video camera recorded the beating after King, a black motorist, was pulled over by the officers on March 3, 1991.

More than 50 people were killed during the riots that followed the verdicts and King became a symbol of police brutality and racial tension in the city. Looting, vandalism and arson left an estimated $1 billion in damage.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

police brutality is not right but if you talk about that why don't you talk about the attack on Reginald Denny a white truck driver in the L.A. riots when 4 black men targeted him pulling him out of his truck smashing his head with a hammer the threw a slab of concrete on his god dam head then one of the guys did a victory dance over him. Another guy spat on him . That was a sick racially motivated attack Reginald had to do years of rehabilitative therapy. I'm almost sure you won't post this what they say about this blog I'm starting to believe it .

Nosferatu200 said...

Oh yes, what "they" say about us.

Your efforts are more than a bit transparent.

You know why ol' Bob and people in a position of leadership and/or authority in the racist movement want you to memorize a mantra? Because they believe you aren't intelligent enough to hold your own in an argument.