LA riots: The past still grips Rodney King

The beating victim says he’s at peace with all that’s happened to him and that he’d go through the night of March 3, 1991, again…

 

An LA street art-take on the notorious Rodney King attack © Wallula Junction

 

Rodney King holds in his scarred hands a fishhook and a bag full of big white worms. He crouches on a dock at the edge of a lake on the outskirts of Ontario. It is early, and the sun is bright, the air quiet.

“I got these old fatties from my backyard, and they’re gonna be good luck,” he says, scooping one of the wriggling creatures from the bag. “They actually look like big ol’ maggots. Just gotta be careful: They bite.”

He spears the worm with the hook. The worm flails and then goes limp. King stands, tension draining from his face. He raises his fishing pole and casts. “I needed this,” he says. “I really needed this.”

It has been 20 years this month since rioting brought Los Angeles to its knees. A jury had acquitted four police officers in the beating of King, unleashing an onslaught of pent-up anger. There were 54 riot-related deaths and nearly $1 billion in property damage as the seams of the city blew apart.

 

Read more at the Los Angeles Times