- (Photo: Twitter/Patrick W. Gavin)
Rodney King, the man whose beating by Los Angeles police sparked race riots across the state, now says, "America has been good to me." It was 20 years ago this month that King was beaten.
King's beating was videotaped by police cameras and showed a brutality the country had not seen before. The officers charged with excessive force were acquitted and people across the country were outraged at the lack of justice.
King became a symbol for those participating in race riots throughout the city.
The Trayvon Martin case is often compared to the King beatings, as both men were brutally attacked and the nation responded immediately to the crimes. Now, as Zimmerman prepares for trial, racial tension is again on the rise throughout the country.
King has spoken about the Martin case, calling for people to trust the justice system.
"I don't want to say the wrong thing. I was asked about that young guy that was killed, and it did remind me of my situation and the unfairness black people face all the time … that young boy didn't deserve to be killed for doing nothing wrong. Wrong is wrong," he told the Associated Press.
One of the most famous phrases uttered by King, "Can we all just get along?" reflected his religious upbringing, and he continues to hold it as a motto for life.
"The way I was raised in my religion, we have to be able to get along with each other," he told NPR. "That's your brother and sister. You can't threaten someone in your household. America's my house!"
"America's been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all … This part of my life is the easy part now," King told the Associated Press. He also has a new book out, reflecting on his life in the 20 years since the attack.
"It's been tough on some level to get myself to where I wanted to be or where I needed to be as a black man in this country. You feel like you're always fighting for something or trying to run away from something or people's attitudes towards you. That can wear you down to the point of always making bad decisions," King told the AP.
King's new book, "The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption," is for "kids who didn't hear the whole story," he explained. It is available now.