There is no good excuse

It seems that the further this second trial for Rodney King beating goes on, the sillier the defendants’ arguments and justifications become.

Tuesday was the first day of testimony for the defense. Lawyers for the defendants began their part of the trial by trying to reconstruct the state of mind of the officers on the night they arrested King for traffic violations. What their hope is in reconstructing that night, is to prove to the jury that the officers were justified in their actions.

One might ask how this could be justified. Well, according to the defense’s drug expert, the officers were justified in assuming that King was under the influence of PCP and therefore, justified in their actions. PCP, or Angle dust, as it’s better known, is known to cause people under its influence to be violent and have “superhuman strength.” According to police instructor Edgar Oglesby, King showed classical symptoms of someone on PCP and that the officers were correct in how they handled him.

Both the defense attorney’s expert and Mr. Oglesby are wrong.

Despite the fact that King exhibited classic signs of being on PCP and despite the fact that he was a large man who could have harmed one of the officers, there is no excuse for the 56 baton blows and at least seven kicks that the officers inflicted on him. There might have been call for caution and reasonable fear on the officers’ part that King could be dangerous, but after he was put into handcuffs there was no call for the gang beating that followed.

No amount of reasoning nor attempted justification on the defense’s part, should convince any sane person that King, nor any person for that matter, should be so brutally handled. This is especially true when these actions are carried out by people who we have entrusted with guarding the community from harm.