New Castle jury acquitted Rodney King of DUI in ’96

Staff report


Rodney King, who garnered national attention for a videotaped beating by Los Angeles police, also had an unpleasant — though not violent — experience with the law in Lawrence County.

King, who died Sunday at the age of 47, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence in Union Township, Lawrence County, in May 1995, a little more than four years after the March 1991 LA police beating.

The charge occurred after he was involved in a one-car crash.

The couple who called 911 in the accident and the police officer who arrested him were unable to identify King, who pleaded innocent.

King’s trial started in March 1996 in New Castle. On the third day, the rookie police officer who arrested King admitted he lied on the witness stand. Two days later, a jury acquitted King of the charge, largely because of the police officer’s false testimony.

King became famous when, after a high-speed chase, LA police officers repeatedly beat him with batons and used a stun-gun on him. The incident was videotaped and shown nationally.

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