Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rodney King, the Riots, Aftermath, Etc.

There have already been a lot of retrospective articles about Watergate, since that scandal started unraveling forty years ago.  And now with Rodney King’s death yesterday, everybody is reminiscing about the Rodney King era:  his videotaped police beatdown in March 1991, the 1992 acquittal of the four LAPD goons by an all-white jury and the subsequent L.A. riots that killed fifty-three people and injured over 2,000.

By 1992, most people thought civil rights violations being acquitted by jurors was a relic of the Deep South in the 1950s and early ‘60s.  But that fantasy disappeared when twelve white trash inbreds watched the 81-second video of Rodney King being clubbed 56 times, watched the video again and again, and went “Huh?  Police brutality?  Where?”

(Two of the LAPD Gang of Four were later convicted on federal civil rights charges.)

Most people over a certain age probably remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the four LAPD knuckledraggers being acquitted, and/or heard the news that L.A. was on fire.

I remember some of the jokes going around:  L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates called for a two-week waiting period before you could buy a video camera.  (At least I think it was just a joke.)

Adam Sandler called Daryl Gates a douchebag on Saturday Night Live during one of his Opera Man skits; “bagga doucha” to be exact.  Also:

Q.  How many LAPD officers does it take to push a suspect down the stairs?

A.  None.  He fell all by himself.

And a few rock bands got in their two cents worth.  Living Color expressed their angst in a track from their Stain album (1993).  And on the Judgment Night soundtrack (also 1993), there was a reference to “L.A. ’92” on this Slayer/Ice-T collaboration.

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Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

I think Sublime also did a song on it, although I don't remember the name of it anymore.

June 19, 2012 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...


June 19, 2012 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Speaking of Rodney King, I'm hoping in November we will speaking of "Romney King' instead of "King Obama'

June 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I was 10 when this happened so was really ignorant. I was more concerned about what outfit I would be wearing to school next day, or what my best friend Joey was up to. He and I just talked about this the other day, when we heard about it, how really out of it we were at that time and how we both have grown up not tolerating discrimination.

June 19, 2012 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

As the saying goes the more things change the more they stay the same.

June 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes Rodney King was the Emmet Til of our age, a proof of something that had been denied for so long was really happening. The Trial made a legal precedent that is still used today (Like the Oscar Grant BART trial) the prosecution just used the tape as evidence while the defense proved that just the video tape doesn’t prove the intent or what people were thinking. Conservative Pundits who were originally appalled at the tape breathed a sigh of relief when those cops were acquitted, the riots that followed (which was allowed to spread because in L.A. as in Berkeley and Oakland, the majority of cops were forming a line around the rich hilly neighborhoods to make sure the riots doesn’t spread that far), the Bush administration blamed the riots on (get this) “failed Great Society Programs”.

A Federal Civil Rights trail was ordered, it was not hard to get a conviction as one cop (thinking he was in the clear) wrote a book about it and another (Sgt. Stacy Koon I believe) talked about how his perfect kicking a Mexican in the balls should be a “training video” for all others.

Unfortunately the news photos caught the beating of the poor white truck driver named Reginald Denny. LAPD Chief Darryl Gates put on his uniform for the first time in over oh 30 years and made one arrest personally. The tides were turned when the defense lawyers used the exact same defense, the cops lawyers used in the King trials and Right wingers (who thought it was OK for the cops) screamed FOUL! Decried the failing of the Justice System...etc..

Last year I took 2 Law enforcement classes as part of my degree. Both teachers (who were active and retired cops) used this as a platform to denounce and isolate it to that “screwed up LAPD” like it could never happen anywhere else!

Nobody I know believes that


June 19, 2012 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: I didn't remember that, but they had some good songs.

Randal: YEEAAHH!!!

Jess: I doubt if anyone follows the news or current events when they're ten. I sure didn't.

Demeur: That's right, the more things change...

Erik: That's interesting, the police departments pretending these atrocities could only happen in another city. I suppose LAPD officers were also saying "we're not like those thugs in the Oakland police department."

June 19, 2012 at 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

@ Tom, my rental units were total DFHs that had me at my first protest when I was 8 yrs old, just shortly after they adopted me. My first big girl by myself protest I was about 13 maybe 14 outside San Quentin with a group of older friends. Dad actually went to LA after the riots to help with some law stuff, pro bono, for a few months.

June 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: Going to a demonstration by yourself at 13-14, that's cool. My family always discussed politics, so from around junior high on, I was following current events and having opinions, etc. My family was Republican, so for a few years I was just parroting what they said. Fortunately I came around after awhile.

June 20, 2012 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 21, 2012 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Tom good thing you didn't grow up in a democrat house,you'd' be drinking koolaid and parroting

June 21, 2012 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

In other words, you're from a conservative family and you're just parroting everything they told you to say. Unlike you, I started thinking for myself at a certain age.

June 21, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I grew up in a non partisan home.
My father was a career military man and was a very respecful person.

June 21, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

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