LOS ANGELES - Following the premiere of Episode 3 of Rising Up, Lora King, founder of the Rodney King Foundation and Rodney's daughter; Dr. Jorja Leap, Executive Director of Health and Social Justice Partnership at UCLA; and LAPD Captain Aaron McCraney stopped by FOX 11 to discuss Rodney King's legacy and reliving past trauma from stumbling upon the viral George Floyd death video.
For longtime Angelenos, the George Floyd death and the unrest that followed gave painful flashbacks of the Rodney King beating and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Lora King was just seven years old when her father was brutally beaten by LAPD officers. Fast-forward to 2020, when then-police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck in Minneapolis, it gave Lora the painful reminder of the prevalence of police brutality and systemic racism.
"It's still hard to watch," Lora King said. "Because we're still here. Besides my dad, we're still here. We're still in the ignorance of having these conversations. It's just sad."
Leap shared a sentiment similar to Lora King when she saw the George Floyd video. Leap described the experience as "watching a home movie that I was sorry to see."
"What was so upsetting about recent events and with what happened in Minneapolis that had affected people here is, that trust is so easily shattered. There have been 100 police shootings since George Floyd where people wound up dead. Certainly, some of them were justified or would be reported as justified," Leap said.
At one point during the panel, Leap told Lora King she values the legacy left behind by Rodney King.
"We think of your father so much. I could never imagine your own loss. He is someone I think many of us here in Los Angeles hold in our hearts," Leap told Lora King.
McCraney, a Los Angeles native, joined the department in 1991 so he remembers the 1992 riots very well.
"I'm from the city and I've never seen anything like that," the LAPD Captain said of the 1992 LA riots. "Very different time and very different space for me to live in."
Like Leap and Lora King, McCraney said the George Floyd death was a harsh reminder that racial injustice is still around.
"It's tough," McCraney said. "How much time has passed and we're still looking at these issues."
As for solutions moving forward, McCraney said LAPD is pushing for more diversity and inclusion.
"We need more African Americans. We need more Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders. We need more women on the job. I think that's the thing that's going to really help erase the ills of the past and move forward to the future," he said.
McCraney said the push to defund the police from certain members of the community sends the wrong message.
Lora King also does not believe in defunding the police, adding that the officers have families to go home to and take care of.
Lora King says the Rodney King Foundation is working to focus on the differences in our communities and bringing them together through cultural awareness and uncomfortable conversations.
"That's where we truly grow at, not common denominators," Lora King said. "We're all raised differently. if we learn to have those uncomfortable conversations, imagine what we would be."
Leap has spent three decades lifting up resident voices. She is focused on making sure there is equal partnership between the community and the police.
"We don't need another research study. That sounds funny coming from somebody like me. We need change. We need real change with public safety and with our communities so people can feel safe," Leap said.
Those interested in checking out our panelists' work can click the links below:
- Lora King: Rodney King Foundation
- Dr. Jorja Leap: UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
- Captain Andrew McCraney: LAPD
Rising Up is a five-part docuseries produced by FOX 11 that examines the death of George Floyd, the protests that occurred in response, and the important, sometimes uncomfortable, conversations surrounding race, policing, activism, and the future of America, that have taken place since.
The series features interviews with Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), LAPD Chief Michel Moore, FOX 11 anchors Elex Michaelson and Christine Devine, and some two dozen other journalists, activists, academics, and protesters.
Rising Up airs nightly at 6:00 PM PST from May 24 through May 28, and is also available anytime on Tubi, FOX Soul, NewsNow, FOXLA.com, and YouTube.
For more information and exclusive content, go to foxla.com/risingup.