On April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted four Los Angeles, California, police officers of using excessive force in their beating of motorist Rodney King. A bystander had secretly videotaped the beating, and by the time of the verdict, thousands of people had watched the uniformed officers use batons to subdue King, who was crawling on the ground.Footage of King’s beating made the incident national news, and the venue was moved out of Los Angeles to nearby Simi Valley to ensure the officers got a fair trial. When the mostly white jury acquitted all four officers, riots started in South Los Angeles. Police quickly lost control of entire neighborhoods, and seemed to abandon others.The Los Angeles riots included protests, looting, arson, and even murder. Perhaps the most infamous act of violence was televised when a group of rioters dragged truck driver Reginald Denny out of his vehicle and beat him into unconsciousness. (Denny survived, brain damaged, and the rioters were acquitted.) King himself rejected the violence, famously pleading, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry abandon Verb
to desert or leave entirely.
to release a person from blame or legal responsibility.
crime of intentionally setting an illegal fire.
event or happening.
having a very bad reputation.
group of people selected to determine facts in a specific case.
Encyclopedic Entry: jury loot Verb
to steal or take something illegally.
to kill a person.
an area within a larger city or town where people live and interact with one another.
Encyclopedic Entry: neighborhood plead Verb
to beg or sincerely appeal to someone for something.
goods or materials (including land) owned by someone.
protest noun, verb
demonstration against a policy or action.
large, violent, public disturbance.
unaware, asleep, or in a sleep-like state.
location of an event.
legal decision made by a judge or jury.