The Rodney King beating

March 3, 1991
Los Angeles, California
Taxi driver Rodney King is beaten by police officers as a witness films the event

King had been involved in a high-speed chase, and once he was pulled over four officers beat him repeatedly. A witness recorded the event and submitted the video to a local station, KTLA, which sparked rage worldwide, especially in areas where racial tension was high (King was black while the officers were white).

Three of the officers were acquitted of all charges while the fourth was acquitted of assault with a deadly weapon, but deadlocked on his charge of use of excessive force. It is largely believed that the acquittals led to the Los Angeles Riots in 1992 which claimed the lives of 53 and caused over 2,000 injuries.

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