All Articles Tagged "rodney king"
He Didn’t OD, But He Was On Drugs: PCP, Cocaine, Weed, And Alcohol Identified In Rodney King Death Report
When Rodney King was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool on the morning of June 17, there were a million theories about what could have lead to his death which has since been ruled an accidental drowning. Now TMZ has obtained the official death report on the civil rights figure in which the coroner says that King, 47, “was in a state of drug and alcohol induced delirium at the time of his death … and either fell or jumped into the swimming pool.”
King was reportedly under the influence of a number of substances at the time of his death, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and PCP. As the report states:
“The effects of the drugs and alcohol, combined with [King's preexisting heart condition] probably precipitated a cardiac arrhythmia and [King], thus incapacitated, was unable to save himself and drowned.”
As TMZ notes from the report:
King was naked and face down at the deep end of the pool when officials arrived on scene.
Cops also found a pitchfork, a hoe and a vaccuum pool sweeper in the pool … which King’s GF used to try and fish Rodney out of the water. The GF told cops she didn’t go in after Rodney because she is not a good swimmer and was afraid to enter the water.
With his death now ruled as an accidental drowning, at least the questions surrounding any foul play on the part of King’s girlfriend should subside.
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Rodney King, the man who was at the center of the infamous Los Angeles riots — was found dead this morning in Rialito, CA. He was 47. According to our sources, King’s fiancée found him dead at the bottom of a pool.
(New York Times) — It had all the makings of another turbulent moment for the Los Angeles Police Department, an agency once notorious for an “L.A. Confidential” style of heavy-handed policing, hostile relations with minorities and corruption. Two months after triumphantly announcing the arrest of a suspect in a brutal beating at Dodger Stadium, the police admitted that they had arrested the wrong man, and charged two other people with the crime. But unlike other potentially explosive episodes that have rocked this department over the decades, there were no indignant denials or attacks on critics. Instead, the police chief,Charlie Beck, wrote an op-ed article in The Los Angeles Times explaining what had gone wrong and expressing regret at some of his own public comments. “We can do much better,” Chief Beck wrote. The moment reflected what has been a revolution for the police department that was once the model for Sgt. Joe Friday and “Dragnet.” Twenty years after the police beating of Rodney King was caught on videotape, and 10 years after the Justice Department imposed a consent decree to battle pervasive corruption in the Rampart Division, this has become a department transformed, offering itself up — in a way that not so many years ago would have been unthinkable — as a model police agency for the United States.
Happy birthday Latasha Harlins…you would have turned 35 this month. This fact, combined with the recent DUI arrest of Rodney King necessitated this commentary; given the backdrop of the Casey Anthony verdict.
I have to remind myself now that at the age of 41, I’m not young anymore in the objective sense of the word. Maybe relative to senior citizens but that’s about it. Certain events indelibly etched in my memory are only Youtube footnotes in history for the Gen-Y generation.
As the fallout continues from the Casey Anthony verdict, I’ve grown increasingly tired of the questionable comparisons in “outrage” over supposed unexpected verdicts.
True students of relatively recent history should know better.
Directly aligning the O.J. Simpson case to Casey Anthony is flawed and in total ignorance of historical context at best. Yes, the Simpson trial will forever be the yardstick in which all televised trials are measured in terms of media coverage. But if the national media (i.e. Nancy Grace and company) are to indict the justice system; begin with Latasha Harlins and Rodney King. Move forward from there, not O.J. Simpson.
Los Angeles was set ablaze in 1992 in large part to the acquittal of Rodney King, but also in delayed response to the 1991 killing of Latasha Harlins. 5 years of probation, $500 fine and 400 hours community service was the sentence handed down to Korean grocer Soon Ja Du for shooting her in the back and killing 15-year-old Latasha Harlins.
Harlins caught a bullet in the back for allegedly stealing a bottle of orange juice. The store video footage showed the unjustified murder in plain view, which led to Du’s conviction on the charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Du was CONVICTED.
Nevertheless, she never saw a day in jail for shooting an African-American 15-year old child in the back…caught on videotape.
There was no national outrage and barely any Los Angeles mainstream media outrage for that matter. If we are going to honestly and truthfully enter into any discussion as to the inequities and inadequacies of the legal system; Latasha Harlins and Rodney King are far better points of comparison to Casey Anthony, not O.J. Simpson. And even then, the Casey Anthony verdict falls tremendously short.
There is no witness testimony available more objective or accurate than video. Casey Anthony should be in jail, no doubt; reasonable or otherwise. Just stop feigning disgust today, when yesterday there was none for King or Harlins, despite clear video.
If our justice system had failed anyone for all the nation to see, it was long before anyone knew the name Casey Anthony.
That’s not even speaking of the pittance of a sentence for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle in the murder of Oscar Grant, also caught on videotape. Mehserle was released last month after serving only seven months of a 2-year sentence. He too was convicted…with video of the murder.
Murder on video? National Media Outrage? Miscarriage of justice? The civil unrest in the wake of the Du and King verdicts forever changed Los Angeles and America. 51 people murdered, with hundreds of businesses looted and burned. This in many ways set the stage for the African-American response to the O.J. verdict.
Conversely, the Anthony Verdict inspired “twitter unrest” from celebrities and angry commentary from media personality Nancy Grace. To fume over the “flawed” justice system now, relative to OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony going free is indicative of gross historical negligence. There are better cases to rally one’s anger around, both before and after O.J.
The same “outrage” should have been directed at acquitted Robert Blake and the associated jury.
Nobody pays him any mind, even to this day. The same anger should have been directed at Judge Joyce Karlin who “sentenced” Soon Ja Du.
It wasn’t. She was in fact praised for being “courageous” in her sentencing. Again, I will excuse Generation Y. In many instances, they aren’t old enough to remember. The news media encouraging this Casey Anthony circus on the other hand…
African-Americans in large part cheered O.J.’s acquittal in 1995 with the inverted tears of Rodney King and Latasha Harlins just 3 years before. It was a Los Angeles knife which finally, finally cut in the other direction for once.
You can’t understand O.J. without understanding its proximity to King, Harlins and the city of Los Angeles. I remember exactly where I was, watching the verdict with 30 other co-workers in Los Angeles; 28 of them White. After the verdict, I looked at the only other person of color in the room and we instinctively nodded in agreement with each other. Now, they knew what it felt like.
Even still, those outraged at O.J. didn’t understand that there but for the grace of God went I instead of Harlins or King. There was a personal, racial understanding and connection. “We” inherently and personally understood police brutality and verdict injustice.
For the next 5 or so years, the national stories about the failed justice system were either in relation to O.J. Simpson or Jon Benet Ramsey, the 6-year old child beauty contestant found murdered in 1996. Blame was continuously placed on the supposed “stupidity” of the Black jurors in the O.J. Simpson case while the White jurors who voted for acquittal in the Rodney King criminal trial were ignored.
Harlins wasn’t even mentioned.
Casey Anthony likely got away with murder. I don’t say that with any happiness or celebration in my heart. Our imperfect justice system is not built upon any search for truth, it’s an amalgam of legal gamesmanship; a competition like Survivor to outwit, outplay and outlast one’s competition. Casey Anthony won. To the victor go the spoils. And to the seemingly surprised goes this brief history lesson.
Happy Birthday Latasha Harlins, you are not forgotten.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary. Follow Morris W. O’Kelly on Twitter: @mrmokelly
Do you trust the police?
The black community hasn’t always had the best experiences with law enforcement, specifically the police. From the Civil Rights era, to Rodney King to Sean Bell the record is full of blemishes. On the other hand no one can deny the fact that there are some truly honorable police officers who do their job with integrity. We spoke with some New Yorkers and some tourists to gauge their opinion on the subject. Watch the video above to see what they had to say.
In March of 1991, the attention of America was transfixed on the brutality that three L.A.P.D. police officers inflicted upon an unarmed Rodney King when they ferociously clubbed him to within an inch of his life.
What shook us to the core was the slow and deliberate way in which these brutes pounded King as lay helpless on the pavement. With each second that elapsed, we were drawn deeper and deeper within the psychology of mad men; a strain depravity born of unchecked authoritarianism. With each blow we understood a little more about the manner in which absolute power makes animals out of men. Most of us recoiled at these degenerate reflections of what our supposed protectors had become.
The impact of the Rodney King video was largely owed to that fact that it 1) was recorded and 2) wasn’t instantaneous. It was obvious that the officers who were beating King – who was made a bloody mess within seconds of exiting his vehicle – had other options at their disposal. They didn’t need to beat King in order to subdue him. They did it because they wanted to.
As the minutes and seconds continued to elapse, we watched the very same officers who were charged with protecting and serving their community beat, club and kick King. The taped video prevented our subjectivity from getting in the way of the facts as they unfolded on that infamous video. Try as they might, neither police nor press could concoct a cover story outlandish enough to support the officers’ actions that night.
Fast forward to 2011, however, and you’ll find that instead of correcting their entrenched brutality problem, the police have shown an increased proclivity for quick kills. Ready. Aim. Fire. Then, when the smoke clears, just tell anyone who asks that you thought the perpetrator had a gun.
In other instances, any action deemed “aggressive” by the police (even though the police are not thoroughly trained in psychology) is enough to make you the target of small arms fire by your city’s finest.
Take the case of Steven Guidry who was shot in the neck after an officer stopped him for failing to use his turn signal. He was shot because the officer believed Guidry was reaching into his coat. When in doubt, pull the trigger.
Guidry, who now walks with a walker and has had a series of complications since his surgery, maintains that both his hands were visible and on the wheel at the time of the shooting.
In the case of Guidry and many others, there were no cameras around to record the incident. Although Guidry survived his bullet to the neck, countless others have died at the hands of trigger happy cops. And since dead mean (and women, children, and the disabled) tell no tales, it’s difficult to know how many of these fatal shootings were actually justified.
The key question, however, is why is an officer’s belief enough of a justification to open fire on anyone. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve, and risk is inherent in that oath. When an officer leaves his house for work, he’s well aware of the risk being placed on his life, but average citizens have never agreed to adopt a similar risk. So shouldn’t it follow that police officers should also accept the greatest share of risk when an altercation occurs? And shouldn’t this be especially true in cases where it is beliefs, not facts, which are driving an officer’s actions?
It just seems that we’ve all haphazardly acquiesced to the foregone conclusion that police officers have the right to do everything within their power to preserve their own lives. We’ve done very little to challenge the many ways in which such a low standard for the use of lethal force threatens our own lives.
In fact, the supposition that an officer’s first duty is to him or herself turns the most important duty of being a police officer – to protect and serve – on its head. A police officer can’t very well protect me if he’s projecting his own attitudes and fears onto me. And he certainly can’t protect me or those who would do me harm if his only concern is saving his own skin.
Being a cop is a hard job, but life is undoubtedly harder for Mr. Guidry who will probably spend a fair amount of time in the hospital while doctors work to prevent his throat from collapsing – again. Others of us however, have an opportunity to lessen the likelihood that we’ll fall victim to a police officer’s trigger finger. To do so, we must recreate the opportunity which was offered to us back in 1991. It’s time that the public renegotiate the duties, expectations, and responsibilities of the boys and girls in blue who patrol our communities with impunity.
Until we’ve amended the terms of our agreement, our lives will forever be at the mercy of officers who act on their individual fears at the expense of the general welfare. And until officers understand that their fear of a man allegedly who is reaching for an unidentified object which may or may not be in the pocket of his coat is not a reason to put a hole in his neck, our lives and the lives of our loved ones remain at risk.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.
(The Grio) — This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rodney King beating, an incident which shone the spotlight on police brutality and race relations in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. On March 3, 1991, King — who was driving with two of his friends in his white Hyundai — was stopped by LAPDofficers following a high-speed chase on the 210 freeway with the California Highway Patrol. King reportedly had been drinking with his friends. Ordered out of car, King was repeatedly beaten and kicked by officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Stacey Koon. According to court records, after learning that King worked at Dodger Stadium, Powell said to King: “‘We played a little ball tonight, didn’t we Rodney? You know, we played a little ball, we played a little hardball tonight, we hit quite a few home runs. Yes, we played a little ball and you lost and we won.’”
King sustained serious internal injuries, including a broken cheekbone and a broken right ankle, and received 20 stitches, including five inside of his mouth. In his negligence claim against the city of Los Angeles, for which he later won $3.8 million, he also claimed he suffered “11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, broken [bones and teeth], kidney damage [and] emotional and physical trauma.”
The four officers would later claim self-defense, arguing that their lives were in danger from King, who they said was aggressive and was resisting arrest. Meanwhile, other police officers who were on the scene did nothing to stop the beating. What made this police beating incident different from many others was that it was caught on videotape — by a bystander named George Holliday, a plumbing company manager. The tape showed that the officers clubbed King with 56 baton strokes, and kicks to the head and body.
It’s been 20 years since Rodney King was arrested and beaten by LAPD. It may have been just another day in L.A but that fateful arrest made history and ignited a turbulent discussion on race in America due to the fact that it was caught on camera. Today, cameras are ubiquitous (thanks to smartphones) and police officials are more aware of being watched by bystanders. Police brutality stilll exists however. Rodney King talks to CNN’s Don Lemon about the past and present.
(Los Angeles Times) — It was shortly after midnight, 20 years ago Thursday, when George Holliday awoke to the sounds of police sirens outside his Lake View Terrace apartment. Grabbing his clunky Sony Handycam, he stepped out on his balcony and changed the Los Angeles Police Department forever.
The nine minutes of grainy video footage he captured of Los Angeles police beating Rodney King helped to spur dramatic reforms in a department that many felt operated with impunity. The video played a central role in the criminal trial of four officers, whose not-guilty verdicts in 1992 triggered days of rioting in Los Angeles in which more than 50 people died.
The simple existence of the video was something unusual in itself. Relatively few people then had video cameras, Holliday did — and had the wherewithal to turn it on. ”It was just coincidence,” Holliday reflected in an interview a decade ago. “Or luck.” Today, things are far different and the tape that so tainted the LAPD has a clear legacy in how officers think about their jobs. Police now work in a YouTube world in which cellphones double as cameras, news helicopters transmit close-up footage of unfolding police pursuits, and surveillance cameras capture arrests or shootings. Police officials are increasingly recording their officers. Compared to the cops who beat King, officers these days hit the streets with a new reality ingrained in their minds: Someone is always watching.