This is an episode of Now I’ve Heard Everything that made me think very carefully about. Given the tensions the entire nation — the world — is enduring right now, I did not want to further inflame things.
But ultimately, I think this interview, from 1992, with former Sgt. Stacey Koon, may provide some relevance and context.
Let’s go back to March 1991. An LA cop makes a late-night traffic stop, pulling over a car driven by a man named Rodney King.
Things quickly escalated, as King resisted attempts to arrest him for drunk driving. Four LAPD officers arrived, to offer assistance — and were caught on video, shot by a nearby resident, repeatedly hitting King with their nightsticks. They Tased him twice.
The ranking officer at the scene: Sgt. Stacey Koon.
After portions of the video were broadcast, all the officers were charged with excessive use of force, and after a high-profile trial in April 1992 in state court, all were acquitted.
The now-famous LA riots followed.
About six months later is when I met Stacey Koon, who had just written a book called “Presumed Guilty.” And as you\’re about to hear, Koon was still angry.
Here now, from October 1992, Sgt. Stacey Koon.
Six months after this interview, Stacey Koon and Officer Lawrence Powell were convicted in federal court of violating Rodney King’s civil rights, and were sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Stacey Koon is 69 now and stays largely out of the public eye.