Say the name 'Rodney King' in Southern California and you will get a range of emotions and reactions and memories. King of course the victim of a brutal LAPD arrest back in 1991, captured on amateur video, seen around the world.
The first trial of the LAPD officers in Simi Valley resulted in acquittals and riots and fires and death, a subsequent Federal case led to two officers going to prison. King was to some, a symbol of police brutality everywhere, to law enforcement officers he was a combative suspect, possibly drunk or under the influence of drugs, who needed to be taken into custody as quickly as possible, as violent as it may have been.
In subsequent years King was in and out of trouble, sued and won millions, lost most of it, and ultimately would die of drowning at the age of 47, on Fathers Day of all days, back in 2012.
The King story and all that went with it of course had to be part of KTTV's 70th anniversary series, and as part of it I sat down with one of his three daughters, Lora, who was a young child when this happened, and who now tries to use her time, in part, to inspire other young children and fathers to spend more time together.
She remembers asking, 'why would anyone do that to another human being ?' She says she and her dad never really talked much about what happened, she does say 'it changed him', but she wants him to be remembered as a fun loving compassionate person and a good father, rather than a subject of controversy.
I also sat down with an LAPD Deputy Chief, Bob Green, all business and very candid, a sergeant back then, he's grown up in LA and with the department.
Green says the LAPD is so much better, more progressive, more inclusive, more tolerant, than it was all those years ago, and is made up of a much smarter, hard working force, partly as a result of the changes forced on it by the King incident.
It's a big part of LA, if not United States history.