Rodney King Beating Footage

What comes to your mind when you hear the name, “Rodney King”?

Initially, what comes to my mind is:

  • Los Angeles, California
  • LA Riots
  • Police Brutality
  • O.J. Simpson Trial

These are the initial thoughts that I have. When I finally went to see footage, I watched three different versions (supplied below).

Looking at the original footage, I can tell that it was taken from a distance, compared to the other two videos that depict zooming in effects and possibly enhanced lighting. This distortion removed the true number of cops that were present at the scene of the crime, but draws attention to the true brutality and inhumane nature that the cops were acting out. However, if we, for a second, consider the videographer, we start to try to understand the setting. The individual is speaking and seemingly trying to justify what is going on. We can also tell that maybe the individual was nervous or anxious from the shakiness of the camera. There is a brief period where the camera may have been put down.

To me the interpretation is still one-sided. The same one video that was cropped and edited, still makes the cops look bad. In the ABC News video, I question why now? Why now is police brutality amongst the African American community being recognized. As a viewer I am curious to know more about the history of police brutality against African Americans. It is noted that because of the footage, this became a national case, why?

After a discussion with my class about the videos, I truly felt enlightened. Some of the things I noted were observations of my fellow classmates. Some these observations I would not have, and did not, initially pick up on. I didn’t consider the multiple angles to interpret the footage and the effects one video can have on the nation. I wonder how I would have reacted had I been born and older during this time. I know that this footage only tells part of the story, but no one deserves to be treated that way. I’m sad that this footage and the results of the case impacted justice in future court cases that involved African Americans. At the same time, I’m glad that this surfaced so that people could retaliate and protest for fair justice.

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