LA-ist Looks Back on L.A. Riots and Rodney King Today
Caleb Bacon of LAist has posted a thoroughly engaging and sympathetic piece on Rodney King, the now-44-year-old black motorist whose savage beating by LAPD cops in 1991 would result a year later in citywide rioting. That 1992 violence, which exploded 17 years ago today, has been eradicated from the civic consciousness yet remains as a scar upon our collective memory -- even now arguments break out over exactly what to call the disturbances during which 53 people died.
Bacon profiles King's life and his years-long battle with alcoholism. Some revealing moments: King learning that L.A.'s legal bureaucracy had braced itself for a $25-million settlement with him, but got lucky when his lawyer had him accept a $3.8 million payout; how he eagerly embraced Dr. Drew Pinsky's invitation to participate in his Celebrity Rehab TV program, which has resulted in him being 10 months sober; King literally finding his voice as he sings, for the first time in years, to a multiple sclerosis recovery group.
Topping King's recollections, of course, is the night of his beatdown on Foothill Boulevard in Lake View Terrace.
"I knew what kind of dudes followed a police chase," Bacon's interview quotes King, who, even in the dark, could see some cops
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taking out their billy clubs after he'd pulled over while driving
drunk. "I knew it wasn't going to be nothing nice."
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