Overheard on CNN.com: Rodney King 'had demons. But called them his own'
The CNN community debates Rodney King's often-muddled legacy.
June 17th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Rodney King 'had demons. But called them his own'

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

Racism revisited

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?

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Filed under: Justice • Overheard on CNN.com • Race
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. whosurdaddy

    LOLS what did this guy do?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • C Hatton

      Rodney was arrested multiple times only to be released time and time again Once driving around his neighborhood at 100 miles an hour. The police were totally wrong in what they did. but I can understand their frustration why..He was no hero. He was a bum who shouldnt have gotten any 15 minutes of fame

      August 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ovia

    it's almost as if people believe black folks are the only ones who ever get abused by less then moral police. Al & jesse never ever bring up any of the many whites who were abused robbed for their drugs or just plain screwed by the bad cops.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. mojozeke

    Many years ago a neighbor's daughter, a skinny teen who couldn't have weighed more than 105 lbs took too many drugs (perhaps an LSD combo as I recall) and flipped out. The local police were called to subdue her and to help transport her to the hospital. It was a small town with friendly officers. It took 6 of them to hold her not the suggested 4 for an adult male who was 2x her weight and muscle.
    I've never felt that the Rodney King action taken was justified in any way but I would like to point out that as onlookers who have seen too many TV shows where it looks easy, it just isn't.
    It did cause many people to see the brutal reality of what was happening in this country from a 360 perspective, however.

    June 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mo Brown

    Poor Reginald Denny, the white truck driver pulled out of his rig, beaten & kicked in the head by rioters, never received a dime from Los Angeles or his attackers. Fortunately, a few kindhearted black & Korean bystanders saved Denny's life which resulted in metal plates in his head, intense headaches, and a difficult recovery. Someone took a video of Rodney King being restrained with excessive police force. Rodney was high on PCP and could not be restrained by one or two cops. Rodney resisted arrest after speeding on LA highways, putting innocent civilians at risk. No one filmed this part of the story. Rodney should be known as the person who caused the LA Riots and death of 53 people because he could not get along with himself and lifelong drug use.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. womanofpurpose

    It is a sad shame of of the ignorant comments made from the people about Mr. Kings death. This is a man who had struggles as we all do in life, and all I can read are people who chose to poke fun at his tragic death. The people who do such things should ask God to search their heart and life and more than likely He will find sin there, the point of the matter they have not been caught just yet. It is a shame that people spend time posting hate in stead of remorse or regret for the loss of a life. This goes to say how hard the hearts of people are today. Mr. King had a sickness and sadly, that sickness took his life. Maybe what we should do in stead of laughing or poking fun of Kings death, we should learn what not to do, and use it to our advantage, that alcohol and drugs is not the anwser to turn to when we are in a struggle in our lives, but seek help, pray and ask God almighty for the help and strength for deliverence.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mgraskin

    He had a Pool?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
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