[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
89°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 17
1920 - Actress Maureen O'Hara born in Ireland; 1961 "Parent Trap" uses Disney Golden Oak Ranch [story]


Rodney King, subject of a police beating and trial that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots, was found dead in a swimming pool at his Rialto home Sunday morning. He was 47.

For three former Los Angeles Police officers who lived in the Santa Clarita Valley and a fourth who lived in the San Fernando Valley, it’s the end of a chapter, if not the story.

It was just after midnight March 3, 1991, when King was pulled over in Lake View Terrace following a high-speed chase on the 210 freeway. CHP and LAPD officers engaged in the pursuit; among the first LAPD officers on the scene were Sgt. Stacey Koon of Castaic, Laurence “Larry” Powell of Valencia, Timothy Wind of Canyon Country and Theodore “Ted” Briseno of Chatsworth.

Koon assumed command as a fifth officer, Melanie Singer, held King at gunpoint. Koon then ordered a swarm. King resisted, throwing Powell and Briseno off his back and hitting Briseno. King’s ability to rise up and defeat the initial swarm led officers to believe he was high on PCP – an allegation that was later not proved, although King was approximately 2.5 times over the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.

Screenshot from Holliday videotape

Koon called off the swarm and tasered King, who withstood it and stood up again. By this time a private citizen, George Holliday, had started videotaping the incident from his apartment. He later sold his videotape to an L.A.-area TV news station for $500.

As King moved toward the officers, Koon ordered Powell and Wind to subdue King with their batons, which they did. King was arrested and taken to a nearby hospital where he was found to have sustained cuts, bruises and a fractured facial bone.

Whether Powell struck King in the head is a matter of some dispute. Television viewers around the world believed to see it happen in Holliday’s videotape. Powell later told this writer it didn’t happen and showed this writer evidence that his baton didn’t connect with King’s head. Despite Powell’s attorneys’ attempts, no judge in any court ever allowed the evidence to be introduced.

The first trial came in 1992 when a Simi Valley jury acquitted the four officers – Koon, Powell, Briseno and Wind – on charges of excessive force. As filed, the charges carried a burden of proof on the par of attempted murder, which was too high a bar for District Attorney Ira Reiner to prove. Reiner drew quiet criticism for filing the wrong charges and opted not to seek reelection that year.

News of the acquittal filtered to South Central Los Angeles, which erupted in riots resulting in 53 deaths and an estimated $1 billion in property losses.

U.S. Attorney Gen. Janet Reno then charged the four offers with violating King’s federal civil rights.

Reno intended to use an audiotape on which one of the officers supposedly used the “N”-word during their confrontation with King.

The question of whether the officers used the “N”-word during the altercation was central to Reno’s allegation that the officers, who were white, discriminated against King on the basis of his being black, thus violating his civil rights.

LAPD Officer Laurence Powell in 1987

Justice Department officials took the audiotape to a high-end post-production sound processing firm to isolate the voices.

The audio company was represented by Bruce Fortine, a Santa Clarita entrepreneur known locally as a member of the College of the Canyons board of trustees.

Fortine told this writer that after isolating the sounds, the tape revealed no evidence that the officers used the “N”-word.

He said his company returned the tape to the Justice Department.

But then, during the federal trial, Reno said the tape had “disappeared” and could not be introduced as evidence (and it wasn’t).

Wind and Briseno were acquitted. Koon and Powell were found guilty of the federal charges and sentenced to 32 months in prison.

Koon paid for his defense with proceeds from his 1992 book, “Presumed Guilty: The Tragedy of the Rodney King Affair.”

Powell raised money any way he could, notably with local fundraisers in the Santa Clarita Valley. Numerous politicians including Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich were listed on the host committee for a $75-a-plate dinner but did not attend the actual event.

The last this writer knew, Powell was working in a retail electronics chain store in San Diego County.

In an unrelated incident July 6, 2009, LAPD Officer Susan J. Clemmer, 41, of Valencia, walked into the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and fatally shot herself [see breaking TV news report]. Clemmer had been a witness for the defense, testifying that King was laughing and cursing while he was hogtied, and that he spat blood on her while en route to the hospital in an ambulance. She also testified that Powell was so scared, he thought he might shoot King.

In the years that followed, King was arrested on drug charges and at least once for domestic violence when he allegedly dragged his former wife with his car.

Nonetheless, King became something of an odd media darling with his famous quotation, “Can’t we all get along?”

On that question, the jury is still out.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Aug 16, 2019
Woman Accused of Throwing Knives, Wielding Chainsaw
A Canyon Country woman stands accused of going after a family member with a chainsaw, albeit one that was turned off, after two failed attempts to hit her intended victim with steak knives she allegedly threw.
Friday, Aug 16, 2019
Narcan 2 Years Later: Still Saving SCV Lives
Proving just how necessary Narcan has become in saving the lives of SCV heroin addicts, local sheriff’s deputies dispatched Thursday for an unresponsive man feared dead in the bathroom of a Stevenson Ranch restaurant watched signs of life return to the man after paramedics administered the drug.
Friday, Aug 16, 2019
Acosta Resigns from SCV Water, Moving to El Paso
Dante Acosta, former state assemblyman, former Santa Clarita City Council member and a director of the Santa Clarita Valley Water agency board, is moving to Texas to begin a position as district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the El Paso region.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1920 - Actress Maureen O'Hara born in Ireland; 1961 "Parent Trap" uses Disney Golden Oak Ranch [story]
If The Master's University women's volleyball team was looking for an opportunity to fold to Rocky Mountain on Thursday, it had options.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Takes Down No. 13 Rocky Mountain
The Master's University men's basketball team has signed Sam Boone, an NCAA Division 2 transfer who will add to the squad's frontcourt depth.
TMU Men’s Basketball Signs Sam Boone, NCAA D2 Transfer
A Canyon Country woman stands accused of going after a family member with a chainsaw, albeit one that was turned off, after two failed attempts to hit her intended victim with steak knives she allegedly threw.
Woman Accused of Throwing Knives, Wielding Chainsaw
Master's head coach Dan Waldeck hopes Stephanie Soares brings "immense confidence and drive" back with her after she played with the Brazilian women's national team at the Pan American Games in Peru last week.
TMU’s Stephanie Soares Wins Gold at Pan American Games
One thing volleyball player Jane Cisar appreciates about The Master's University head coach Allan Vince is his recruiting philosophy.
Vince Earns 100th Win at TMU Women’s Volleyball Coach
At nationals last year, The Master's University women's volleyball team learned what it would take to make a deep post-season run.
2019 TMU Women’s Volleyball Preview
Proving just how necessary Narcan has become in saving the lives of SCV heroin addicts, local sheriff’s deputies dispatched Thursday for an unresponsive man feared dead in the bathroom of a Stevenson Ranch restaurant watched signs of life return to the man after paramedics administered the drug.
Narcan 2 Years Later: Still Saving SCV Lives
Dante Acosta, former state assemblyman, former Santa Clarita City Council member and a director of the Santa Clarita Valley Water agency board, is moving to Texas to begin a position as district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the El Paso region.
Acosta Resigns from SCV Water, Moving to El Paso
Bridge to Home, the primary homeless services provider in the Santa Clarita Valley, invites the community to its premier annual fundraiser, "Soup for the Soul – Sera in Italia," at the Bella Vida senior center in Canyon Country on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m.
Oct. 12: Bridge to Home ‘Soup for the Soul’ Fundraiser
A six-run first inning for the Lake Elsinore Storm was too much for the JetHawks Thursday, as Lancaster lost 13-8 at The Hangar.
Lake Elsinore Storm Start Too Strong for JetHawks
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives seek the public’s assistance in locating Willie Paul Davis, a 70-year-old Valencia resident.
Missing: Willie Paul Davis of Valencia
Five people were hurt, two seriously, in a multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 5 in Castaic early Friday morning, according to county fire department and CHP authorities.
Five Hurt in Early Morning Castaic Pileup
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control will join Los Angeles television stations NBC4 and Telemundo 52 in a "Clear the Shelter" pet adoption campaign on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Aug. 17: ‘Clear the Shelters’ with Pet Adoption Discounts
Two parolees from Bakersfield arrested in Valencia last week were arraigned on multiple charges including burglary on Monday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station reported Wednesday.
Burglary Suspects Arrested After Mall Chase Are Arraigned
Painting it as an economic threat and a cruel attack on immigrants, California sued Friday to stop the Trump administration’s new "public charge rule" that allows the government to deny green cards to people relying on some forms of public assistance.
California Sues to Block Feds’ ‘Public Charge Rule’ for Green Cards
Friday air quality is unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the latest South Coast Air Quality Management District forecast.
Friday Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive People
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station's COBRA Unit detained two juveniles and one adult during a gang suppression operation on Monday.
SCV Deputies Tag 3 Suspected Gang Members in Newhall
1956 - Battle of Palmdale rages over the skies of Santa Clarita [story]
airplanes
A vegetation fire near Valencia Boulevard and Interstate 5 prompted the evacuation of College of the Canyons’ Early Childhood Education Center Thursday afternoon.
Vegetation Fire Prompts Evacuation of COC’s Childhood Education Center
Would you like for a family member or caregiver to be able to call Medicare on your behalf? Would you like a way to store all your health records in one place online, so you can quickly share them with a new doctor or other healthcare provider? How about an easy way to print a new Medicare card if you lose yours? You can do all that and more by creating a free, secure MyMedicare.gov account.
Create a Personal Medicare Account | Commentary by Greg Dill
The Transfer Rules Committee held their culminating meeting Wednesday.
Message from CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics
The second bond issuance of Measure E, the Santa Clarita Community College District general obligation bonds, were sold on Aug. 7, yielding $85 million to assist College of the Canyons in building out the Canyon Country campus and upgrading the Valencia campus.
Second Bond Issuance of Measure E General Obligation Bonds Yields $85M
Boys and Girls Club Alumni, Kacey Umanzor and Nikola Macovksi, have been awarded scholarships to attend College of the Canyons this fall by the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.
Boys & Girls Club Announces 2019 College Scholarship Recipients
%d bloggers like this: