Rodney King remembered
June 18, 2012 (WABC) -- I remember the first time I saw the videotape of the beating of Rodney King at the hands of several Los Angeles police officers in March, 1991.
I was a reporter and anchor at a TV station in Los Angeles, and our first response was to wonder who this man on the ground had killed or shot at to justify this kind of violence by the cops. It didn't take long to discover that he hadn't killed or shot at anyone.
What followed was a big chunk of 1990's history - the investigations, the trial (all four officers were acquitted), the deadly and fiery riots, the federal investigation and subsequent trial and guilty verdicts. And in the middle of the chaos of the 1992 riots were King's "can't we all get along."
King wasn't the perfect martyr figure. In fact, he was a troubled man. Drugs and alcohol, and a personality to go along with all that. But he was who he was, and, in his own way, always seemed to accept his role in history. Even if he never fully understood it.
Not surprising that King would die before his time, as he did over the weekend, at the age of 47. His fiancé found him in his pool - after an apparent night of smoking dope and drinking.
So I'm thinking about Rodney King tonight, and the impact he had on the city I grew up in, the city I reported in at the time of the beating and the riots, and the impact he on race relations across the country.
We'll have any new developments in his death, tonight at 11.
In the meantime, here's a link to some pictures of King throughout the years: http://ow.ly/bEDHi.
We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg and his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.
Subscribe to my page on Facebook at facebook.com/billritter.wabc.
Follow my tweets at www.twitter.com/billritter7.
eyewitness news, bill ritter
- Officer arrested in firebombing of captain's home 52 min ago
- Heavy rain sparks flash flooding
- AccuWeather Alert: Drenching downpours
- Eyewitness News Live
- Jury deadlocked on Jodi Arias penalty 7 min ago
- Boy attacked by another on city bus, video
- Boy Scouts to accept openly gay boys as Scouts 6 min ago
- Woman arrested in shooting death of Jersey City boy
- Students injured in Brooklyn pepper spray incident
- Anthony Weiner courts voters in Harlem Thursday
- The New DNA fingerprint: Cell phones
- Photographer chronicles wife's breast cancer battle
- abcnews: 'Extremely Active' Potential For Hurricane...
- Secret Sales: Brownies, Diamonds and a super secret sale