Filmmaker SPIKE LEE directs Actor/Writer/Director ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH through a project which gives voice to the late RODNEY KING, in the NETFLIX film RODNEY KING!!!
RODNEY KING (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was a taxi driver who became internationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991. A witness, George Holliday, videotaped much of the beating from his balcony, and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage shows four officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers stood by. Parts of the footage were aired around the world, and raised public concern about police treatment of minorities in the United States.
Four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Three were acquitted of all charges. The jury acquitted the fourth officer of assault with a deadly weapon but failed to reach a verdict on the use of excessive force. The jury deadlocked at 8–4 in favor of acquittal at the state level. Within hours of the acquittals, the six-day 1992 Los Angeles riots started, in which 55 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured, ending only when the California national guard was called in.
The acquittals also led to the federal government's obtaining grand jury indictments for violations of King's civil rights. The trial of the four in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and subsequently imprisoned. The other two were acquitted again.