February 22, 2000
Class problem: Rodney King
In 1991 Rodney King was involved in an incident that led eventually to some of the worst riots in US history. The New York Times (March 18, 1991) reported, "at least 15 officers in patrol cars converged on King." The article broaches one of the issues that made this incident explosive: "In what other police officers called a chance deployment, all pursuing officers were white." The force, which numbers about 8,300, is 14% black.
Critics denied that this was a "chance deployment," claiming instead that all pursuing officers being white reflected an underlying prejudice within the LAPD dispatcher office.