On March 3, 1991, Rodney King (b. 1965 – d.2012) was savagely beaten and arrested for driving while intoxicated and evading arrest on the Foothill Highway in Los Angeles with friends Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms. King ended the high speed chase at the advice of Allen at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Osborne Street in Lake View Terrace and was immediately tasered and savagely beaten by LAPD officers. George Holliday, an Argentine plumber, recorded the events on a video camera from his apartment across the street. King suffered numerous fractures and injuries but was never charged.
Holliday's video was shown on news stations across the country and internationally. The Los Angeles County District Attorney subsequently charged four police officers with using excessive force but were acquitted. Rioting ensued in Los Angeles and several other cities after the ruling, lasting 6 days in Los Angeles, killing 53 and injuring over 2,000. The California National Guard and U.S. military were summoned and restored order to the city.
The image is composed from approximately 100 manipulated video stills from Holliday's video.