Rodney King’s 1991 Incident

The Rodney King incident changed policing forever and significantly strained the relationship between African Americans and police. After reading the article, The Legacy of Rodney King, write a 2-3 page paper, double-spaced and in APA format that discusses the following points:

Which interview responses do you most agree with?
Which interview responses do you most disagree with?
Did any of the interviewees say that the incident was racially motivated? Do you agree with their stance? Why or why not?
Formal Chief Daryl Gates blames what on why the Rampart scandal occurred? Do you agree? Why or why not?


Analysis of Responses of Rodney King’s 1991 Incident

Student’s Name

The 1991 videotape of Los Angeles Police department officers beating a black man (taxi
driver) known as Rodney king drew the attention of many Americans. The media viewed this
incident as a form of racism without having sufficient facts. However, the incident remains
questionable since it was not right and justice for the police to treat any individual either a black
man or a white the way Rodney King was treated because of over speeding offense (Stuart,
2011). On the article, A few Americans who were interviewed about the incident gave different
opinions about the incident.
Responses I agree with.
I agree with the reaction of Chief of the Las Angeles Police Department that the media,
specifically the electronic media exaggerated the whole videotape by associating it with racism.
The chief says that the press played the video repeatedly to stress that the Las Angeles police
department bruited Rodney King by racism without having gathered enough evidence to support
the issue. I also agree with the response on the issue of the role of racism in the 1992 L.A.P.D
incidence. The respondents agree the fact that racism is a problem in the US although it may be
not the primary cause of the incident. The third response that I agree with is of chief Bernard
Parks in the reaction as a cop since it shows some logic. At first, you cannot easily connect the
incident with racism.
Responses I disagree with
I do not agree with the reply of Daryl Gate that the incident was not connected with past
events. He argues that the police were in their line of duty, but I doubt if that was right and
justice to harass the black man for over speeding. There is a high possibility of retrospect. Also
the response of rationality of the incident where he argues that he does not believe in one's

Whether interviewees view the incident as racially motivated, my opinion on the
stance and reasons.
No, although they are not saying it directly, all of the interviewees are against the claim
that the video was racially motivated. I agree with their stance. It is because although the media
is claiming that the incident was associated with the racism, they did not provide enough proof to
support the statement. I agree that the brutalizing was inhuman and against human rights, but I
cannot conclude that it was as a result of racism. It may be from some other personal issues like
job stress of the police, unpassionate police among other reasons.
Formal Chief Daryl Gates blames on why the Rampart scandal occurred, my view
and the reasons.
The chief blames the media for their exaggeration on the incident. I agree with this blame
of Formal Chief Daryl Gates. According to Chief Daryl, the media played the videotape
repeatedly to stress their opinion of racism on the issue ("Race & Policing – The Legacy Of
Rodney King | PBS – L.a.p.d. Blues | FRONTLINE | PBS," 2014). Although the police had
broken the rights of the taxi driver King Rodney, the media did not have to connect the incident
with racism directly. The media have extensive coverage, and most people have trust on it.
Therefore, their opinions are highly believed to be true even if they lack supporting evidence.
In conclusion, the 1991 videotape changed how police relate to common citizens in the
whole police department. The police who were involved in the incident faced imprisonment and
charges for breaking the rights the black taxi driver. However, the media should be cautious in
the information they pass to the public since some information may make things worse.



Race & Policing – The Legacy Of Rodney King | PBS – L.a.p.d. Blues | FRONTLINE | PBS.
(2014). Retrieved from
Stuart, F. (2011). Constructing Police Abuse after Rodney King: How Skid Row Residents and
the Los Angeles Police Department Contest Video Evidence. Law & Social
Inquiry, 36(2), 327-353. doi:10.1111/j.1747-4469.2011.01234.x