Rest in Peace Rodney King. Your words “Can’t we just all get along?” forever changed the culture in America.
Being a generation X’r I was in high school when the news was taken over by reports of police officers beating a defenseless man repeatedly and it was caught on film. The whole incident and the media’s handling inflamed a huge racial divide in the country.
I’ll never forget how I felt when I saw those scenes of Rodney King being beaten repeatedly by several police officers. He was completely defenseless and was beaten nearly to death over a traffic stop. When the jury found the officers not guilty the people rioted. The LA riots was the result of years of tension that finally exploded. The last straw seemed to be the fact that this incident of police brutality was caught on film and still it was not enough evidence to bring justice. The LA riots was the last example I can remember when the people took justice into their own hands.
I had that same sickening feeling again when the rioting thugs attacked a truck driver named Reginald Denny who was coming through the area driving an 18 wheel truck. There were some words exchanged and the result was several men viciously beating Reginald nearly to death. He was attacked because he was white. The rioting thugs fell into the trap that committing more acts of violence on defenseless people would even the score.
I remembered then the press conference when Rodney King said those 5 words that will live forever,
“Can we all get along?”
My question is can we? Its been a tough run ever since those words were spoke back in 1992. Do you think we have learned from Rodney King? I have to say I felt that same way again when I saw the footage of the students getting pepper sprayed by the police for sitting down on their own campus. Then I notice the footage of the “white shirt” NYPD officers punching female protesters in the face. The issue became real for me when Addar Kennedy was killed after working a late shift at his family’s restaurant. Unmarked police cars and plain clothes police chased Addar as he was walking home and killed him. He was wanted for no crime, he was just walking home. Then you have Treyvon Martin and many others have you ever heard about Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine who was killed at home by police after pressing his medical alert help pendant.
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