Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was a taxi driver who became internationally known after a tape was released of him being beaten on March 3, 1991, by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase. A witness, George Holliday, videotaped much of the beating from his balcony and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage shows four officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers stood by. Parts of the footage were aired around the world, and raised public concern about police treatment of minorities in the United States.
Four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted the fourth officer of assault with a deadly weapon but failed to reach a verdict on the use of excessive force. The jury deadlocked at 8–4 in favor of acquittal at the state level. Within hours of the acquittals, the 1992 Los Angeles riots started, sparked by outrage among African Americans over the verdicts. The rioting lasted six days, during which 63 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured; it ended only after the governor ordered in the California national guard to re-establish control.
The federal government prosecuted a civil rights case, obtaining grand jury indictments for violations by the four officers of King's civil rights. Their trial in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and sentenced to prison. The other two were acquitted of the charges....LESS