“Can We All Get Along?”
Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965-June 17, 2012)
A colored pencil drawing by John Saam
Rodney had a checkered background and a troubled life. He achieved public notoriety in 1991 when he was stopped by the Los Angeles police for a traffic incident. He resisted and was tazered then severely beaten with clubs by five policemen resulting in injuries that required hospitalization. These included a fractured skull, broken facial and ankle bones along with internal injuries including brain damage. The incident was videotaped and displayed on the media causing a national outrage over police brutality. The five policemen were later tried on various charges arising from the incident and declared innocent. This caused Los Angeles to erupt in violent rioting. Rodney was disturbed by all this and made a plea over the media to end the violence where he made his famous quote “Can we all get along?” Later Rodney forgave the policemen for the severe beating. The incident resulted in raising the national consciousness of police brutality and to an extensive revamping of the Los Angeles police department.
The artist feels that Rodney’s famous plea is as valid now as it was then. He also wonders if it is more than coincidence that those whose names end in “King” tend to suffer similar fates (MLK, RGK, JCK). Rest in peace, Rodney.