National

Rodney King: An Imperfect Hero

[Our Weekly]

He neither asked for nor enjoyed the spotlight

“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” —Rodney King, May 1, 1992

The image of the Los Angeles Police Department got a dramatic makeover on March 2, 1992. Previously heralded as the paragon of police professionalism, its persona was regularly burnished by a succession of crime dramas, starting with the “Dragnet” television series. But the LAPD’s real face was permanently revealed courtesy of an amateur videographer who in turn spawned a new era in which the man on the street became an active participant in the newsmaking process.

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