Violence, Videotapes and Police

Los Angeles reacts to Rodney King verdict. (Getty Images)
Los Angeles reacts to Rodney King verdict. (Getty Images)

In his Miami Herald column, Leonard Pitts reflects on changes brought about by the videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.


This all started with Rodney King.

More to the point, it started with a plumber named George Holliday. Had he not been video recording from his balcony, that night in 1991 might have been business as usual for L.A. police who struck King, a harmless drunk, 50 times with their batons, breaking his leg, his cheekbone and his skull. Had Holliday not captured video proof to the contrary, they might have gotten away with some lame excuse: oops, he slipped on the stairs.


But thanks to Holliday's camera, we all knew better.

Twenty years latter, cameras have become ubiquitous. They have captured entertainer meltdowns, crashes, tasings, deaths and a seemingly endless carnival of police misbehavior: questionable beatings, controversial shootings and unprovoked violence by those we hire to protect and to serve.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many police now identify cameras as the enemy.

Read Leonard Pitts' complete column at the Miami Herald.

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