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Rodney King beating: Share your memories of watching the video that changed L.A.

March 5, 2011 |  9:33 am


Twenty years ago this week, L.A. was profoundly changed by a home video showing a Los Angeles police officer beating of motorist Rodney KIng.

Talk back LA

As The TImes' Joel Rubin, Scott Gold and Andrew Blankstein wrote this week, the videotaped beating set off a historic chain of events:

The nine minutes of grainy video footage ... of Los Angeles police beating Rodney King helped to spur dramatic reforms in a department that many felt operated with impunity. The video played a central role in the criminal trial of four officers, whose not-guilty verdicts in 1992 triggered days of rioting in Los Angeles in which more than 50 people died.

The simple existence of the video was something unusual in itself. Relatively few people then had video cameras, [George] Holliday did — and had the wherewithal to turn it on.

"It was just coincidence," Holliday reflected in an interview a decade ago. "Or luck."

Two decades later, the King beating tape still evokes strong emotions in many people. Share your memories about watching the tape for the first time and tell us how you think it changed L.A.

In the video above, KTLA News -- which broke the story -- replays its first reports from 1991.