Friday, 15 July 2011

Rodney King Collared Again

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The man often irrelevantly identified as the “black motorist” who indirectly caused 1992’s race riots in Los Angeles, which left 53 dead and $1 billion in property destroyed, was arrested again early this week.

Last week, police collared Rodney King, the man who wanted to know why we all just can’t get along, yet again for driving under the influence. Under the influence of what, we are not given to know. Maybe it was alcohol, maybe it was marijuana. But we do who was arrested. Rodney King.

 King became the poster-child for police brutality when four Los Angeles policemen beat him with batons after he charged them in an alcohol-fueled rage following their stopping him after a high-speed chase. Videotape of the beat down surfaced on television news.

The Latest and King’s Record

Los Angeles went up in flames after a jury acquitted the policemen who beat King, but he is not now and never has been a model citizen.

Police, KTLA television in Los Angeles reported, arrested King in Moreno Valley, in Riverside County, on Tuesday. “The 46-year-old was reportedly driving a 1994 Mitsubishi when officers observed him committing ‘multiple infractions.’” The station reported that “King, who lives in Rialto, was taken into custody and was eventually arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence at the Robert Presley Detention Center.” 

The station did not speculate which substance King was allegedly under at the time of the arrest, although reported That King “exhibited physical signs of marijuana use.” 

Authorities released the veteran lawbreaker on bail.

King’s Long Record

King has a long and violent past, the record shows. In March, police cited him for driving without a license a day before the 20th anniversary of his beating, reported, and KTLA noted that “King was arrested in Claremont and charged with being under the influence of the psychedelic drug PCP” in 2001.

He was also arrested in 2005 after he allegedly threaten[ed] his daughter and ex-girlfriend.

Then in 2007, King told authorities he was sprayed with pellets from a shotgun while riding his bicycle near the border of San Bernardino and Rialto.

Rialto police, who were the first to respond, said King was intoxicated when they arrived and that it was difficult to decipher what had happened.

Though King’s criminal record after the beating in 1991 is more lengthy than it was before the beating, that record, according to “The Arrest Record of Rodney King,” posted by the law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, “played a large role in the high-speed chase that led to his arrest.”

Prior to his famous beating, King’s record included wife beating and armed robbery, as the UMKC website reported:

July 27, 1987: According to a complaint filed by his wife, King beat her while she was sleeping, then dragged her outside the house and beat her again. King was charged with battery and pleaded “ no contest.”  He was placed on probation and ordered to obtain counseling. He never got the counseling.

November 3, 1989: King, brandishing a tire iron, ordered a convenience store clerk to empty the cash register. The clerk grabbed the tire iron, causing King to fall backwards and knock over a pie rack. King swung the rack at the clerk and fled the store with $200. King was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery, and intent to commit great bodily injury. In a plea agreement, King pleaded guilty to the robbery charge and the other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but was paroled on December 27, 1990.

Then came March 3, 1991, when police arrested him after a high-speed chase that reached speeds 117 miles per hour. King’s blood alcohol level was two-and-half times the legal limit. As Kevin Lamb reported at, the media distorted and twisted the events to make the police appear guilty of an unprovoked beating. That wasn’t the case. When a jury acquitted the officers, Los Angeles exploded.

King became famous when he uttered the words, “I just want to say ... you know … can we ... can we all get along. Can we … can we get along. Can we stop making it … making it horrible for the ...for the older people and the … and the kids.”

Arrests Since Between 1991 and 2001

King hasn’t stopped “making it horrible” for older people, kids, cops or anyone else, his arrest record shows. Police have repeatedly arrested the civil rights hero for drunk driving and attacking not only police officers but also women.

On May 11, 1991, cops nailed him for driving without a license and with an expired registration. He escaped charges on those offenses. Two weeks later, “King picked up a transvestite prostitute in Hollywood who happened to be under surveillance by LAPD officers. King and the prostitute were observed in an alley engaging in sexual activity. When the prostitute spotted the officers, King sped away, nearly hitting one of them. King later explained that he thought the vice officers were robbers trying to kill him. No charges were filed.”

The next year on June 26, King beat his wife, she alleged, but she decided not to file charges. Less than a month later, police collared King for drunk driving. They did not file charges.

King’s charmed legal life continued in August 1993. He “crashed into a wall near a downtown Los Angeles nightclub. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.19. King was charged with violating his parole and sent for sixty days to an alcohol treatment center. He was also convicted on the DUI charge and ordered to perform twenty days of community service.”

Police arrested him twice in 1995. The first time, he was in Pennsylvania, where police picked him up for drunk driving again. “King failed field sobriety tests, but refused to submit to a blood test. He was tried and acquitted.”

In July, “King got into an argument with his wife while he was driving, pulled off the freeway and ordered her out of the car. When she started to get out, King sped off, leaving her on the highway with a bruised arm. King was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his car), reckless driving, spousal abuse, and hit-and-run. King was tried on all four charges, but found guilty only of hit-and-run driving.”

Beyond these charges, the law school website adds these:

March 3, 1999: King allegedly injured the sixteen-year-old girl that he had fathered out of wedlock when he was seventeen, as well as the girl’s mother. King was arrested for injuring the woman, the girl, and for vandalizing property. King claimed that the incident was simply “a family misunderstanding.” 

September 29, 2001: King was arrested for indecent exposure and use of the hallucinogenic drug PCP.

When King attacked a Los Angeles policeman on that fateful day in 1991, they thought he might have taken PCP. He hadn’t. He was merely drunk.

Photo: Rodney King, seen here in a booking handout photo provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, July 12, 2011,: AP Images

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