Rodney King Beating Trial

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In the 1998 case Powell v. United States Congress, better known as the “Rodney King Beating trial”, two attorneys argued whether or not four LAPD officers used excessive force while arresting Rodney King. At the time of the arrest, the amount of crime in Los Angeles was rising. Cannon points out that, “ with a rising crime rate and a rapidly increasing multicultural population” (Cannon). With the crime rate on the rise the small LAPD staff had to enforce lean and mean mentality for their police force. The officers had some motivation that cause the excessive force used on King. Lindner explains that, “ King was ‘dusted’, a user of the drug most feared by police departments.” The police believed that the drug that he was allegedly using …show more content…
The four police officers were being put on trial by the U.S. Supreme Court. The prosecutor's attorneys used the videotape that was recorded by the amateur cameraman. According to Lou Cannon, Author from the University of Nevada in Reno, Judge “Duke plowed frame by frame through the video, offering his opinion.” the judge disected the video to help him make a judgement on the case. The standout testimony was given by Officer Koon. Koon stated that, “ [I] was approaching the point where deadly force was going to be required”(linder Excerpts). Koon’s testimony helped sway the trial from having all four officers on trial to only two that were main contributors in the beating because only two of the officers felt that deadly force was required. The turning point in the trial was when Prosecutor White was prosecuting Officer Powell. According to Douglas linder, professor of law at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the transcript states that “PROSECUTOR WHITE: So you go up to someone and say, "How many people did you beat today?” Powell went on to say that his statement was only professional police jargon and it was not intended to be interpreted this way (Linder Excerpts). The final verdict of the trial resulted in two of the four officers being found guilty for excessive use of force by a police officer. Douglas Linder writes that, “the judge [Sentenced] Powell and Koon to thirty months …show more content…
Justice was clearly shown when the video created by George Holliday was released to the public. In the Video that was created by amateur cameraman George Holliday, you can vividly see the cruel acts that were used by Officer Powell and Officer Koon on the night of the arrest (Linder Holliday). The video clearly illustrated the wrongdoings of Koon and Powell. Another reason why justice was served was that Powell sent a message that included some “ Police Jargon” to another police officer that then came to be controversial in the case. Author Lou Cannon of the book Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD states that the phrase “beaten anyone this bad in a long time" as "common police jargon," not an admission of inappropriate force”(Cannon). This statement is controversial to Powell and changed the outcome of the trial drastically. The final reason behind why justice was served was the way king described the night he was beaten to the ground. Lindner, Author of Articles on the Famous trials website quotes king who says “I felt beat up and like a crushed can. That's what I felt like, like a crushed can all over, and my spirits were down real low.” (Lindner Excerpts). This quote reveals the thought and pain that King was enduring on the night of the high speed chase. The Rodney King Beating trial impacted the way that police officers handle people that

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