The LAPD Officers' Trials:
|March 2, 1991
||King drinks heavily at the home of Bryant
("Pooh") Allen while watching a basketball game. After the game,
King, Allen, and another friend named Freddie Helms drive down the 210
freeway, singing to the radio.
|March 3, 1991
||About 12:30 A.M., King's Hyundai is spotted
speeding on the 210 freeway by two California Highway Patrol officers,
Tim and Melanie Singer. The CHP officers pursue King at speeds of
over 110 mph. King's vehicle is finally cut off about fifteen minutes
later. As the Singers, with guns drawn, attempt to arrest King, Sgt.
Stacey Koon and three other LAPD officers (Laurence Powell, Theodore Briseno,
and Timothy Wind) intervene. From his nearby apartment, George Holliday
videotapes the scene, as three officers strike King over fifty times with
metal batons before finally handcuffing him. King is taken to a hospital
|March 4, 1991
||Holliday gives his videotape to Los Angeles
television station KTLA. KTLA takes the tape to LAPD headquarters,
where it is viewed by senior officers. That night, KTLA broadcasts the
Holliday videotape on the evening news.
|March 5, 1991
||CNN obtains a copy of the Holliday videotape
and plays it on its nationwide cable news program. The FBI opens
an investigation of the King beating.
|March 6, 1991
||The Holliday videotape is played on the
evening news programs of all major networks. Most viewers express
shock at what they see. King, meanwhile, is released from jail without
|March 7, 1991
||Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates announces
that the officers involved in the King beating will be prosecuted.
|March 8, 1991
||District Attorney Ira Reiner announces
that he will seek indictments against the officers from a grand jury. Fifteen
officers present at the scene of the King arrest are suspended.
|March 10, 1991
||A Los Angeles Times poll reports
that 92% of those who had seen the Holliday videotape thought excessive
force had been used against King.
|March 11, 1991
||A grand jury watches the videotape and
begins listening to testimony.
|March 14, 1991
||The grand jury returns indictments against
Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Brisenio.
|April 1, 1991
||Amidst charges against the LAPD of racism
and incompetence, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley announces that a commission
headed by Warren Christopher will evaluate the performance of the LAPD.
|April 2, 1991
||Mayor Bradley asks for the resignation
of Police Chief Gates, but Gates refuses.
|May 16, 1991
||Judge Bernard Kamins sets June 17 as the
opening date for the trial of the four officers. He denies a defense
motion for a change of venue out of Los Angeles County. The defense
appeals the denial of their motion.
|July 23, 1991
||The California Court of Appeals unanimously
grants the change of venue motion. The Court also takes the case
from Judge Kamins because of an ex parte message he sent to prosecutors:
"Don't panic. You can trust me." The case is reassigned to
Judge Stanley Weisberg.
|Nov. 26, 1991
||Judge Weisberg transfers the LAPD Officers'
case to predominantly white and conservative Simi Valley. He announces
that the case will be heard beginning in February.
|February 3, 1992
||State trial of the four officers begins
at the East Ventura County Courthouse in Simi Valley.
|March 2, 1992
||A jury of ten whites, one Hispanic, and
one Filipino-American is selected. Six jurors are male, six female.
|April 29, 1992
||At 3:15 P. M., Jury acquits Koon, Wind,
and Briseno of all charges. Jury is unable to reach verdict on one
charge against Powell. About 5:00 P. M., rioting begins in Los Angeles.
When it is over, 53 people are dead, over 7,000 people arrested, and more
than $1 billion in property damage is sustained.
|April 30, 1992
||President George Bush announces that he
has ordered the Department of Justice to investigate the possibility of
filing charges against the LAPD officers for violating the federal civil
rights of Rodney King.
|August 4, 1992
||A federal grand jury returns indictments
against the four officers.
|Feb. 25, 1993
||Trial begins in the courtroom of Judge
Davies on the charge of violating the civil rights of Rodney King.
|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
||Judge Davies sentences Powell and Koon
to thirty months in a federal correctional camp. Various civil rights
groups complain that the sentences are not harsh enough.
|August 27, 1993
||The Justice Department announces that
it will appeal the sentence of Judge Davies as too light.
|Oct. 12-13, 1993
||Powell and Koon report one day apart to
Camp Parks near San Francisco to begin serving their federal sentences.
|April 19, 1994
||In a civil suit by King against Los Angeles,
a jury awards $3.8 million in damages.
|April 22, 1994
||A civil suit against the officers begins
before Judge Davies. King asks for $15 million in damages.
|June 1, 1994
||A civil trial against the officers ends
with a jury awarding $0 in damages to King.
|Jan. 13, 1995
||The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules
that the sentences by Judge Davies was too lenient and sends the case back
|Sept. 28, 1995
||The U. S. Supreme Court agrees to hear
Koon's and Powell's appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision sending their
case back to Judge Davies for imposition of a harsher sentence.
|Oct. 15-16, 1995
||Koon is released from the Federal Work
Camp in Sheridan, Oregon, to enter a halfway house in California.
Powell is released from a Federal Work Camp near Edwards Air Force Base,
north of Los Angeles.
|Nov. 23, 1995
||An armed assailant invades a halfway house
in Rubidoux, California in an attempt to kill Koon, but Koon is away for
the Thanksgiving holiday. The armed invader in killed by police in
a shoot-out. Koon is allowed to serve the remainder of his term in
a form of house arrest.
|Dec. 13-14, 1995
||Powell, then Koon are released.
|June 13, 1996
||The U. S. Supreme Court reverses the Ninth
Circuit and upholds the sentence of Judge Davies on most points, but orders
resentencing on the basis of two errors.
|Sept. 26, 1996
||Judge Davies refuses to extend the sentences
of Koon and Powell. He reimposes the thirty month sentence, effectively
ending the case.
Officers' Trials Homepage