A Minneapolis jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts – murder and manslaughter – in the George Floyd case. There was never a chance for a fair trial. The jurors knew that an acquittal would mean coast-to-coast arson and looting. And so, they decided that, beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Chauvin had – right there in the street in front of everybody – showed a depraved mind in his disregard for human life.
I’m going to tell you the story of what happened after a different jury verdict, 29 years ago, when police officers did get a fair trial. Jurors defied the lynch mob – and believe me, the mob was howling – and voted to acquit. Los Angeles went up in flames.
It all started with a black man – Rodney King. On March 3, 1991, he led police on a merry chase, as fast as 115 miles an hour through the streets of LA. He later said he just couldn’t afford to be caught because he was on probation after a robbery conviction, was drunk, and would be in bad trouble if he were arrested. When police finally stopped the car, his two black passengers got out, obeyed police orders, and went home safely that night. When King got out, he danced and babbled, made obscene gestures at a policewoman, and waved at a police helicopter.
The ranking officer, Stacey Koon, ordered four men to swarm King – take him to the ground and cuff him. King, who was 6-foot-4 and weighed 240-pounds, threw them off his back and the police thought he must be on angel dust. His passengers also thought he was high.
Two shots with a taser didn’t bring him down, so Sergeant Koon ordered the men to use batons. They hit him repeatedly, telling him they would stop if he would lie still. It took 33 baton strikes and several kicks before they could cuff him. A man from across the street shot a video and turned it over to a TV station. 0:07 – 00:18. Here is some of the footage.
When Sgt. Koon first heard about the video he was delighted. He thought it would make a great training video on escalation of force. He didn’t know that the TV station had cut out the first part of the video that showed King throwing off the officers and charging them. And so, there was George-Floyd-type outrage, with non-stop screaming about police racism – even though King himself said he didn’t think race had anything to do with it. The media bellowed about race. In the month that followed his arrest, the Los Angeles Times printed the name Rodney King more than 900 times.
So the officers were tried – and acquitted. The jury forewoman said she went into the trial “revulsed” by what she had seen on the video, but after watching the whole tape and hearing all the evidence she decided the officers were innocent.
Rioting broke out in Los Angeles almost immediately, with blacks attacking any whites they could find. 1:56 – 2:19
The most famous attack was on truck driver Reginald Denny: 21:14 – 21:43 He had 91 skull fractures, but lived. A doctor said it was like being in a 60 mile-an-hour car crash without a seatbelt. Even after years of rehab, he still has trouble walking or speaking.
Reginald Denny is famous only because a TV crew filmed him. Matt Haines, a 32-year-old white man was riding his motorcycle with his nephew to go help a black friend whose car wouldn’t start. A mob of blacks knocked them off the bike and shot and killed Haines. They shot his nephew three times but he survived.
Blacks shot and killed 49-year-old Howard Epstein as he was driving. They stripped him of valuables and ransacked the car. Blacks smashed the windows of Jeff Kramer’s car and tried to drag him out, but his seat belt kept him in. They shot him three times, but he played dead and survived.
You have to dig deep to learn about these people.
Ten whites were killed in the riots. How many by black mobs? No one knows. No one is supposed to care.
Some black businesses were destroyed. 39:21 – 39:41
Blacks hate Koreans because they come into black neighborhoods and start successful businesses. So the mob looted or burned more than 2,300 Korean-owned businesses, which accounted for about half the damage to the city. This is what it was like for one lady. 1:17:54 – 1:19:08
Just as it did for George Floyd, rioting worked. Thousands and thousands of rioters couldn’t all be wrong, right? The media, who said it was pure racism couldn’t be wrong either, right? So, the federal government used its favorite trick to get around double jeopardy and charged the officers with depriving King of his civil rights.
And, wow, they got a conviction! After the worst mayhem since the New York City draft riots of 1863, a high school kid could have got a conviction.
And what became of “Motorist Rodney King,” as the media loved to call him? He was never charged for his drunk driving, violating parole, reckless driving, or resisting arrest. Here he is, three days after the beating. Much was made of the fact that he had some broken bones, but just a few weeks later, he was feeling chipper enough to solicit a transvestite prostitute and try to run over the cop who tried to stop him. In 1993, the city of Los Angeles paid him $3.8 million. He blew most of trying to start a record label.
He went on to get himself arrested at least 11 more times, for such things as hit and run, domestic violence, indecent exposure, and drunk driving. On June 17, 2012, he tanked up on alcohol and drugs and drowned in a swimming pool, age 47.
But this small-time thug taught black people an important lesson. If you loot and burn like you really mean it, you’ll get what you want. And King taught white people the same lesson. If the media egg on the black people and enough of them go crazy, it’s your patriotic duty to do what they want.