Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Two decades ago, Rodney King became a divisive figure in American culture. His beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police brought our country’s racial debate to a boil and, for a time, brought the city of Los Angeles to its knees.
King, 47, was found dead today in his swimming pool. His passing has reignited debate on his legacy, the meaning of justice and the state of race of in America.
Here are some examples of what CNN.com readers and CNN iReporters had to say:
Rodney King: An ambiguous figure
thespiritguy: Rodney King wasn't really a hero or villain. Although he was an alcoholic who made a lot of mistakes and certainly deserved legal punishment, I can admire and respect his decision to talk about getting along, at a time when he could have screamed, 'burn down the city.' That act redeemed him, in my book, and he did deserve a settlement. At least it was a reminder to those who are sworn to uphold the law that they can't take prosecution into their own hands, which is healthy.
The debate continues
Brad Simmons: I'm very familiar with the case. Yes, he did rush the police and perhaps he needed to be restrained but there is what needs to be done to restrain a person and then what these people did. I saw the tape and it was excessive force, plain and simple and if you can't/don't see it, then that's your problem not mine.
Also, the jury doesn't ALWAYS get something right. OJ Simpson got acquitted for killing his wife and Goldman and he was guilty. The system isn't fail proof you know! I know, that must come as a shock to you.
apple597 Thank you, Brad. There was no reason why 2 officers could not have subdued him while the other 2 put his hands in cuffs and held his feet together. The beating was excessive and this video has been shown many times, so whatever happened before is pretty irrelevant. We don't pay taxes so that the police can beat whoever they feel like, so that my tax dollars additionally go to treating these people in the hospital ... their job is to subdue these criminals and take them away. The fact that the guy had to be taken to the hospital and have surgery for his injuries is enough evidence for me.
Another_Fine_Mess: Good man yourself!
A lesson learned
okatj: Rodney King is a symbol. He's not a hero, and I don't think anyone (including himself) in this country really believes that he was a hero. Those who were watching the television that day (not from their mother's womb where I think a lot of you pinheads were at the time), used to think racial profiling was an urban legend. I know I did until I saw what happened to him - and NO - not a single person on this earth deserves to be beaten nearly to death. Death is reserved for punishment befitting the crime that has occurred and has been proven in a court of law. (I say with some trepidations considering the number of condemned on death row that are being exonerated by DNA evidence.) That camera shot shed light on something that white America was really clueless about because it wasn't happening to them and nobody had shown America the truth.
I am stunned by the racism and ignorance in comments posted here. It's absolutely shameful how so many folks still believe the color of a person"s skin dictates who they are. How absolutely UNAMERICAN of any person in our country to really think in this manner. My grandfather, who I believe was a closeted Klansmen, would be proud of you! (PUTRID and DISGUSTING!!) Those who do think these things should read a little about our country's history.
Can’t we all get along?
Brational2: He wasn't a saint. He had demons. But he knew their names and called them his own. He didn't blame anybody else for them. He endured things most of us never will have to. He forgave what many of us could not. And he asked one really important question, for which he will be remembered, and which still needs an answer: Can we all get along?
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Sandusky's defense begins
The trial of former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky began last week with the testimony of eight of the 10 men who accuse him of sexually abusing them when they were boys. This week, possibly on Monday, Sandusky's lawyers are expected to begin their defense, after the prosecution rests.
Sandusky admits showering with boys - some of whom he allegedly met through a charity he created for underprivileged children - but denies the child-sex accusations. Defense attorney Joe Amendola may present evidence about a condition known as histrionic personality disorder, according to CNN's Ann O'Neill. Symptoms include attention seeking, a flair for drama, inappropriate seductiveness and sexual acting out.
According to a source with knowledge of the case, Sandusky was to be examined today by a prosecution psychologist as part of the defense's intention to introduce testimony about the disorder.
Holder tries to avoid contempt vote
A U.S. House panel is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to cite Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt in the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting operation. But the vote apparently will be postponed if he delivers on his offer to turn over certain documents to the committee.
Holder last week promised to provide documents he had previously refused to turn over. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said the documents, while they "may not be sufficient to allow the committee to complete its investigation," would be sufficient to postpone the contempt vote. Holder has proposed meeting Issa to talk about the documents on Monday.
Issa has accused Holder and other top Justice Department officials of withholding requested documents and misleading them about when they first learned of the program.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives launched Operation Fast and Furious out of Arizona to track weapons purchases by Mexican drug cartels. However, it lost track of more than 1,000 firearms that the agency had allowed straw buyers to carry across the border, and two of the lost weapons turned up at the scene of the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Euro's fate may hinge on Greek elections
As the results of today's Greek parliamentary elections and subsequent coalition talks are sorted out, expect plenty of speculation this week about the future of the euro currency and the financial stability of Europe.
Antonis Samaras, the leader of Greece's center-right, pro-bailout New Democracy party, claimed "a victory for all Europe" after a first-place showing in Sunday's parliamentary elections, promising that unpopular austerity measures "will bring the country back to prosperity."
His leading rival, Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing, anti-bailout Syriza, had called for the deal to be torn up. Tsipras congratulated New Democracy late Sunday, but said his party's nearly 27% showing has forced Greek leaders to realize the bailout "is a nonviable economic plan."
The big question: Is the New Democracy victory large enough to calm euro jitters?
Obama heads to G-20 talks in Mexico
The situation in Greece is likely to be one of the topics on the minds of world leaders as they meet in Mexico this week for the Group of 20 summit.
Leaders of 20 of the world's leading economies will meet in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday and Tuesday. President Barack Obama will attend and is expected to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin; the two are likely to discuss the uprising in Syria and nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Iran in nuclear negotiations as sanctions loom
Iran is expected to meet officials from the United States and five other nations in Moscow this week in the latest installment of talks aimed at persuading Iran to curb its nuclear program.
The talks on Monday and Tuesday come ahead of a potentially devastating oil embargo against Tehran that takes effect July 1. The embargo is coming because Western nations suspect Iran is developing nuclear weapons, though Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes such as energy.
Earlier this year, the six nations negotiating with Iran - the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China - proposed that Iran curb its production of high-grade uranium, ship any stockpile of it out of the country and close its underground facility at Fordo, where uranium enrichment is taking place. Iran said it was willing to discuss the proposal this week in Moscow in exchange for easing sanctions.
Officials in Israel, which fears the prospect of Iran's obtaining nuclear weapons, accuse Iran of using the talks to stall the West and delay crippling oil sanctions for as long as possible while it continues to develop its nuclear capability.
Rio+20 hopes to build toward international climate deal
What is billed as one of the largest conferences in United Nations history will kick off Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, where officials from more than 130 countries will gather to discuss how to solve the world's environmental problems.
The Rio+20 summit – so named because it comes 20 years after a similar "Earth Summit" in the same city – is an event where officials are expected to talk about securing global economic growth without destroying the planet. It is hoped that the conference will at least lay the groundwork for a set of sustainable development goals that can be adopted worldwide.
Some critics have dismissed the event as an expensive talking shop that stands little more chance of succeeding than previous environmental summits.
Rodney King was thrust into the public spotlight when a camera captured him being brutally beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. Four officers involved were acquitted, sparking infamous riots that shut down the city of Los Angeles and created a national controversy.
King was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday. Here is a look back on his life and legacy.
March 3, 1991 – Rodney King is beaten by LAPD officers after a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County. George Holliday videotapes the beating from his apartment balcony.
March 4, 1991 – Holliday delivers the tape to local television station, KTLA.
March 7, 1991 – Rodney King is released without being charged.
March 15, 1991 – Police Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno are indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating.
May 10, 1991 – A grand jury refuses to indict 17 officers who stood by at the King beating and did nothing.
November 26, 1991 – Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg orders the trial of the four officers charged in the King beating to be moved to Simi Valley.
April 29 1992 – The four white LAPD officers are acquitted of beating King. Riots start at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles. Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, is pulled from his truck and beaten. A news helicopter captures the beating on videotape. California Gov. Pete Wilson declares a state of emergency and calls in National Guard troops.
April 30- May 4, 1992 – Dusk to dawn curfews are enforced in the City and County of Los Angeles.
May 1, 1992 – Rodney King makes an emotional plea for calm, stating, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"
August 4, 1992 – A federal grand jury returns indictments against Koon, Powell, Wind, and Briseno on the charge of violating the civil rights of Rodney King.
February 25, 1993 – The trial of the officers begins.
April 16, 1993 – The federal jury convicts Koon and Powell on one charge of violating King's civil rights. Wind and Briseno are found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict.
August 4, 1993 – U.S. District Judge John Davies sentences both Koon and Officer Laurence M. Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King's civil rights. Powell is found guilty of violating King's constitutional right to be free from an arrest made with "unreasonable force." Ranking officer Koon is convicted of permitting the civil rights violation to occur.
April 19, 1994 – The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles awards King $3.8 million in compensatory damages in a civil lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. King had demanded $56 million, or $1 million for every blow struck by the officers.
June 1, 1994 – Rodney King is awarded $0 in punitive damages in a civil trial against the police officers. He had asked for $15 million.
April 2012 – Rodney King's autobiography, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along," is published.
June 17, 2012 – Rodney King is found dead in his pool in Los Angeles. There are no preliminary signs of foul play, police say, and no obvious injuries on King's body. Police say they are conducting a drowning investigation.
By the numbers
- Fifty-five people died in the Los Angeles riots. 2,000 were injured.
- More than 1,00 buildings were destroyed or damaged causing an estimated loss of $1 billion.
- More than 3,000 disaster loan applications were filed.
- Government assistance awarded totaled $900 million.
- The Holliday video shows King being struck by police batons more than 50 times. More than 20 officers were present at the scene, most from the LAPD.
- Rodney King suffered 11 fractures and other injuries due to the beating.
- More than 9,800 National Guard troops were dispatched to restore order.
- The highest troop presence was on the night of May 3. There were 1,100 Marines, 600 Army soldiers, and 6,500 National Guard troops on patrol.
Every year on the third Sunday in June, we celebrate Dad with his own day. The idea sprang from the mind of one woman who thought that fathers, just like mothers, deserved their own holiday. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, celebrated the first Father's Day on June 19, 1910 - her father's birthday.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge publicly supported a national Father's Day, and in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed it a national holiday. Following up in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a permanent U.S. Father's Day into law, observed on the third Sunday in June.
Father's Day is also the fourth-largest card-sending occasion. Here's a breakdown of the other intriguing numbers that follow this holiday.
70.1 million – The estimated number of fathers in the United States
24.7 million – The number of married men with children under 18 at home in the United States
1.7 million – The number of single fathers in the United States in 2011.
170,000 – The number of single fathers raising three or more children.
176,000 – Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in the U.S. in 2011.
94 million – Estimated number of Father’s Day cards exchanged annually, according to Hallmark.
$117.14 – Estimated amount that the average person will spend on Father’s Day gifts in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.
$12.7 billion – Estimated amount that consumers will spend on Father’s Day cards and gifts in 2012.
1910 – The first Father’s Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.
1972 – The year President Richard Nixon signed the law that designates the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
Just for fun – daddies, papas and fathers
92 – Age of Les Colley of Australia at the birth of his son Oswald in 1992. He holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest man to father a child.
0 – Number of children fathered by Presidents George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan and Warren Harding.
$1.22 billion – Estimated sales at pizza restaurant Papa John’s in 2011, according to Hoovers.com
1 – Highest chart position on the Billboard Hot 100 for “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna.
$15 – Cost of a loaf of “Papa Don’t Peach” bread made by Breadwinner bakery in Atlanta.
3 – Number of awards won by the Temptations’ song “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” at the 1972 Grammy Awards.
50 – Number of years the Rolling Stones have been together with Mick Jagger as lead singer.
7 – Number of children fathered by Mick Jagger.
Here on CNN.com, we're also celebrating "Dear Old Dad" with our special coverage. Be sure to check this ultimate guide to the stories that pay tribute to Dad, whether he's no longer with us or enjoying Sunday's holiday on the couch with his favorite meal, and his favorite people.
CAIRO (CNN) - As Egyptians cast ballots Sunday in the second and final day of a runoff that will decide the country's first popularly elected leader, questions swirl about whether the military will actually relinquish power.
The runoff is taking place against a backdrop of political chaos: Egypt has no constitution and no parliament, following a court ruling just days before the runoff that invalidated an Islamist-dominated legislative body and then saw the military swiftly move to dissolve it ahead of the election.
Even the choice of candidates in the runoff appeared to reflect the political polarization spurred by the chaos: Mohamed Morsi, backed by the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafik, who served as the last prime minister in the waning days of Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The two-day runoff that began Saturday followed a May election that failed to produce a winner with a clear mandate.FULL STORY