Richard K. Sherwin, Professor of Law, New York Law School
The Trial of the Police Officers Who Beat Rodney King
On March 2, 1991, George Holliday stepped out onto his terrace with his new video camera in hand. Little did he realize, when he switched it on, that the pictures he would capture would mark a critical moment in the screen life of law in the digital age. Holliday’s fortuitous filming captured a group of Los Angeles police officers furiously beating motorist Rodney King following a high speed chase on Interstate 210 in San Fernando Valley, California. These images would soon spread, via the news media, around the U.S. and the world. The officers’ subsequent acquittal on assault charges would spark one of the worst race riots in American history, leaving 53 people dead and $1 billion in damage. What did the jurors see and hear inside the courtroom that moved them so far out of alignment with large segments of the American public?
About The Great Trials
IPLAI's Great Trials lecture series considers a collection of history-making trials across time and examines the social and political contexts in which they took place as well as their cultural consequences. The series takes the position that ‘law’ happens as much outside the courtroom as it does within it, and that each of these pivotal events stands as testament to the ways in which constructions of authority, law, and justice have informed cultural consciousness across centuries.
IPLAI is pleased to offer the lectures in this series for CLE credit through the Barreau du Québec.
Where: Westmount Library, 4574 Sherbrooke St. W.
When: All lectures will begin at 5:30pm
Registration fees: $60 for the series of 5 lectures, or $15 for individual lectures. Registration at the door the day of each lecture may be possible, but places will be limited and we cannot guarantee that seats will be available. Cheques only, payable to McGill University. We will be unable to accept cash at the door.