Twenty-five years after Rodney King was beaten in what has become one of the most infamous cases of police brutality in history, his daughter teamed up with the Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday to speak to young people about interacting with police.
The message? It's more important to build bridges with officers than to stand against them.
Lora King, a 32-year-old administrative assistant for an accounting firm, told the Associated Press that she has had her own negative interactions with police, but she doesn’t think a whole police department can be judged by the actions of a few.
King said that she is following in her father’s footsteps and that he had no hate in his heart for police. Rodney King died in 2012.
The 1991 beating of King and the subsequent acquittal of the four officers involved set off the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which lasted three days, left 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and large sections of South Los Angeles burned to the ground.
Lora King sat with police as they spoke with young people enrolled in the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a program that provides job training and education for at-risk youths.
“It is hard to trust,” King said. “But it’s not going to get anything resolved by hating.”
King said that officers need to listen to the community and that the community needs to keep an open mind.
She, along with LAPD officers, spoke with the youths about what they can do to help and what officers can do to improve an already hostile situation between citizens and police.
Rashid Sharif, a senior lead officer with the LAPD, said that King’s willingness to help the LAPD shows how much the department has evolved in 25 years.
“Having her here is like full circle,” Sharif said. “I just wish I could have met her dad to say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, too.’”
Read more at the Associated Press.