||Last Updated: Mar 4th, 2011 - 12:52:28
The 20th anniversary of the Rodney King beating was Thursday, and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck used the opportunity to discuss changes in the law enforcement system and reforms that he feels would prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.
Beck said the LA police department has gone through sweeping reforms since the 1991 incident, and he doesn't think his officers would engage in such a videotaped assault today.
He feels his department is more effective at stopping crime and also more respected.
Rodney King�s beating, which was recorded live and later leaked to television stations by an amateur photographer, led to a legal case that later ignited racial tension in the city of Los Angeles, and later, sparked some of the most violent protests ever seen in America.
The story behind the video was that Rodney King was on parole and had been pulled over for suspicious driving and then leading police on a short pursuit. Once stopped, four white police officers removed King from his vehicle and struck him more than fifty times.
Immediately after the beating, King spoke to KTLA:
"I thought they were gonna kill me, that's what I thought," King said. "After they tied me up like that...I thought I was gonna die."
After the verdicts were read on live television and radio, the city of Los Angeles erupted in violent protests. Once things finally settled down, more than $1 billion in damages were recorded � and 53 people had lost their lives.
Since then, Beck says the LAPD has revamped its use of force, is under stricter civilian review and through community-based policing is on better terms with poor ethnic communities where officers were once viewed with suspicion.
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