Twenty years after he was beaten mercilessly by Los Angeles police officers, Rodney King has become synonymous with the abuse of power by law enforcers, says NPR. When four of the officers were charged with use of excessive force, many who’d seen the video assumed they would be convicted. But a year later, a mostly white jury in the far northwest L.A. suburb of Simi Valley acquitted the officers, and mere hours later, the city combusted into the worst riot in modern American history. Five furious days later, 53 were dead, thousands had been injured, and authorities tallied damages of a billion dollars or more.
On the third day, while vast parts of Los Angeles were still smoldering, King stood on the steps of city hall and asked, “People, can we all get along?” Today, King has come to grips with the night that fractured him physically and mentally. He’s written about how that night affected him in his new memoir, “The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption.”