Officer Laurence M. Powell and Sgt. Stacey C. Koon were sentenced 2 1/2 years in prison for violating Rodney G. King’s civil rights.
This sentence was far less than what was requested and brought up a lot of controversy. It all started when King had consumed a lot of alcohol and was really drunk. He ended up doing a high-speed chase with the police and refused to do what the officers ordered him to do and proceeded to act highly aggressive towards them.
After 55 seconds and more than a dozen blows later, King finally gave in. However, Powell continued to strike him after King was already compliant. They counted about 6 additional blows after King was already compliant. The judge then said that these blows were considered “illegal” and Powel and Koon were being punished because of the “additional hits”.
The incident was recorded, and it was concluded that the 6 or so blows by Powell were considered unlawful. What happened during the first 55 seconds of the incident was completely within the law and legal.