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Play now 28 mins


28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 28 May 2012

Extraordinary personal stories from around the world.

Today, Matthew Bannister in conversation with Rodney King, the black motorist whose brutal beating by police sparked the Los Angeles riots 20 years ago.

When an all-white jury acquitted the police officers involved, violence erupted in which more than fifty people died, thousands were injured and the damage ran into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rodney King became a symbol of police brutality towards black people, and the incident has taken its place in the history of the American civil rights movement.

Rodney recalls those momentous events, and talks about his own battles with alcohol and crime.

(Image: Rodney King. Credit: Reuters)

  • Witness: The Los Angeles riots

    Witness: The Los Angeles riots

    In May 1992 the people of South Central LA took to the streets in fury at police brutality. They were angry that LAPD officers accused of beating a motorist called Rodney King, had been acquitted

    Listen to Witness
  • LA riots: How 1992 changed the police

    LA riots: How 1992 changed the police

    "With the Rodney King beating and the riots, that was the beginning of the end of the old imperial LAPD. Because LAPD had a very arrogant, 'we're above the law' attitude"

    Read more on the BBC News website


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