It's now been 20 years since the Rodney King beating, which took place on March 3, 1991. That event, which occurred after a high-speed chase, changed the direction of Los Angeles and the LAPD (leading, of course, to the 1992 civil unrest). CNN will mark the anniversary with a special, "Race and Rage: The Beating of Rodney King," which debuts Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. Don Lemon is the anchor. More details:
King was tasered, kicked, and beaten by officers on the scene. He received more than 50 baton blows that crushed bones, shattered teeth, injured his kidneys, and fractured his skull.A preview of the special is above.
Lemon asked him what thoughts he had during the beating, “Stay alive – I knew I had to survive this,” King tells him in an exclusive interview.
The altercation awakened George Holliday who grabbed his home video camera and filmed the incident. The video became a national sensation and the cornerstone of an excessive force trial against the Los Angeles Police Department.
King became a visual symbol of police brutality, but the officers were acquitted in the original trial. News of the acquittal ignited anger that erupted into riots in Los Angeles that lasted for days. Over 50 people were killed, businesses were looted and burned, and even cities as far away as Atlanta reported violence inspired by the news of the verdict.
Lemon and King revisit the scene of the beating together, retracing the events that altered his life, and the riots that followed. Lemon also speaks with Bobby Green, who famously rescued white truck driver Reginald Denny, who was assailed by a mob at a city intersection during the riots.