After a jury acquitted four police officers in the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King, a Black motorist, widespread riots broke out in South Central Los Angeles. Violence and looting persisted for six days in the largely Black and Latino neighborhood, with property damages estimated at $1 billion. Fifty-four people were killed and thousands more were hurt in the melee. Over a year earlier, on March 3, 1991, King had been involved in a high-speed chase down a Los Angeles-area freeway. Following the chase, a bystander captured video of four officers — four white and one Latino — repeatedly beating and kicking King as he lay on the ground and released the video to a local news station, sparking national furor over police brutality and racism in America.
In addition, on this day in 1968, The Poor People’s Campaign held a rally in Washington, D.C., under the theme “Let’s Continue His Work,” a reference to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. King organized the Poor People’s Campaign in November 1967 and, following his death, his close friend and fellow civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy carried on the group’s mission of addressing issues of economic justice and housing for poor people of all races in the United States.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)