Police Abuse

Still Not Getting Along

Despite Rodney King's famous plea, the police and the public have not yet learned to get along.


YouTube screen capture

On April 29, 1992, a California jury acquitted four white Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers of the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King, causing dismay among minority residents of the city. As the dismay turned to anger and the anger turned to violence, five days of rioting ensued; more than 55 people died, and CNN reported economic damage of over $1 billion.

Rick Henderson anticipated that frustration in "L.A., Lawless" (May 1991). Reflecting on the record of policing in Los Angeles, Henderson called the King beating "only slightly more disturbing than the official response of the law enforcement community." He noted that the LAPD had a history of targeting and "roughing up" blacks, including several famous athletes, and that Police Chief Daryl Gates remained in power despite overseeing not just King's abuse but a string of police acts that had cost the city $8 million in payouts the year before. "Suspected criminals, even 'ex-cons,' don't lose their due-process rights the instant police officers apprehend them," Henderson wrote.

Twenty-two years on, many of the same themes have driven residents of Ferguson, Missouri; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and other cities around the country back into the streets. Frustration over disparate racial treatment by police has bubbled over after two separate incidents in which grand juries declined to indict police officers responsible for the recent deaths of unarmed black men.

In Ferguson, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot multiple times by an officer who claims Brown tried to take his weapon, the protests became destructive, with local businesses looted and cars set aflame. As in Los Angeles in 1992, the National Guard was called in and authorities attempted to impose a curfew. But the stories of Ferguson and Staten Island, New York, where father-of-six Eric Garner died after police put him in a chokehold, differ from that of Los Angeles in one important respect: The officers in the first two cities will not face trial.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) called the failure to indict "an outrage" and "a blow to our democracy [that] should shock the conscience of every single American who cares about justice and fair play." Despite King's famous plea, the police and the public have not yet learned to get along.

NEXT: DHS Kinda/Sorta Still Funded, But Why?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    1. Lew Rockwell is a complete and utter piece of shit. what a fun link. I had no idea he was so firmly ensconced on the end of David Dukes dick. I also enjoyed listening to him bloviate about how copa need to have “instant authority” to “take back the streets” from “violent criminals” and “the bums”. An honorable mention goes to how real libertarians believe that prayer should be mandated in state funded schools.
      Rockwell has damaged the credibility of libertarianism for decades. He is a cancer.

      1. “cops”, [sic] “copa”

      2. “We must try, short of ultimate privatization, to operate government facilities in a manner most conducive to a business, or to neighborhood control.”

        Sorry Lew, but you’re mini slavery is antithetical to the NAP, and liberty you speak of. You can’t have liberty with a violent coercive monopoly, that being the state. Ultimate privatization would respect liberty, while slavery doesn’t effing jive with libert, and that’s what you’re advocating..

        Lew Rockwell is only one voice. He has funded lots of organizations that have benefitted libertarians. But posting crap about how the police should be let loose (with some bs notion that they would face consequenses if wrong) is nonsense.

        After all the evidence that counters the drivel he wrote, if he had any conviction to what he is preaching, he would be calling for the complete private production of all services, instead of clinging to this mini slavery (a limited gov’t that will never limit itself) nonsense.

  1. Too late now. The police are a one way street. They’re simply thuggish enforcers for the local political players, nothing more.

    We’ve hit the point of robber barons and their annointed knights.

  2. Again, central control needs a strong enforcement arm, now more than ever. They can’t let up on the revenue stream or let society’s burdens remain unchecked. They know they’re not going to be toppled at the ballot box, so all they have to do is focus on pacification of the masses. That’s where unaccountable law enforcement comes in.

    1. Ya but eventually they’ll turn feral when they run out of other peoples money. Imagine when they stop providing fuel for their cars, tanks, and choppers. Chevron doesn’t exactly accept local yokel IOUs. I think that’s about when people start looking for large walls to re-purpose.

  3. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

    1. Yeah, we get it, being a pig on paid suspension is awesome, but not all of us want to go out and Crack skulls all day.

    1. They do concede your right to videotape them.

      1. Sorta…

        “The video also briefly covers your rights to record interactions with cops. Of course, HPD says officers are totally justified in seizing your recording if they think it contains any evidence that might be useful. One officer reads from a script: “Law or policy may compel the officer to detain the citizen pending a determination of the recording’s value as evidence.”

        Translation: They think ALL video contains evidence…

        1. Especially if it is evidence of them behaving badly. Evidence that needs to be destroyed.

    2. OBEY

  4. GTA V really has the police behavior down pat.

    They will try to arrest you simply for standing too close, move even a little and you typically get 2 stars and they just gun you down.

    When they’re chasing other Non-Player Characters, they will sometimes smash into an innocent person. Usually, they stop chasing the other person and gun down the driver of the car they smashed into.

    They all scream crazy things when you’re in shootout with them-“I haven’t killed anyone all day” “Time to die” “Screw you all”, etc.

    Walk someplace you shouldn’t be, even while unarmed, and they will make no attempt to arrest and will simply fire on you until you die. Shooting back nets 3 stars and helicopters start flying around with 2 cops who fire on you with a rifle.

    They can be found outside most police stations endlessly smoking cigarettes and talking.

    Cussing at them, honking at them, being in their path, etc. will get you 1 star. If you move or there are obstructions that keep them from moving right towards you, it goes to 2 stars and they gun you down.

    The cars have the motto “Obey and Survive”

    Rockstar is more spot on than any other game I’ve ever seen.

    1. Kick @$$ post of the month award? I think so

  5. Shit. I long for the halcyon days where all the cops did was beat the shit out of people rather than summarily execute them.

  6. You make $27 per hour good for you! I make up to $85 per hour working from home. My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around 45 Dollar per hour to 85 Dollar per hour heres a good example of what I’m doing more detail here….
    —————- http://www.jobsfish.com

  7. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,,,,,,

  8. Free shipping. 100% Satisfaction guaranteed or Your money back.

    Put an end to office fidgeting and boredom. Introducing a whole new breed of desk toy. More than just super-strong rare-earth magnets, buckyballs? are a moldable desktop stress reliever. They’re an addictive 3-dimensional building toy that can be shaped, torn apart and snapped together in unlimited ways. Make sculptures, puzzles, shapes, jewelry ? you name it.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.