- Hardcover: 698 pages
- Publisher: Times Books/Random House; 1st edition (January 20, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812921909
- ISBN-13: 978-0812921908
- Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Official Negligence : How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD Hardcover – January 20, 1998
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Library Journal
Washington Post journalist Cannon believes that the four Los Angeles Police Department officers prosecuted in 1992 for beating black motorist Rodney King "were scapegoats for the Los Angeles riots" that followed the not-guilty verdicts in their first trial. Readers may recall the videotape of the King arrest, but Cannon reveals that a crucial portion?favorable to the officers?was deleted from the version shown on national television. The LAPD's reputation has been badly tarnished by the King case, the riots in which 54 died, and the Simpson trial (mentioned only briefly here), and Cannon faults the city's political, judicial, and police leadership. Although any analysis of the racial and ethnic conflicts confronting Los Angeles is bound to be controversial, this exhaustively detailed book, while repetitive at times, is an essential part of the debate. Recommended.?Gregor A. Preston, formerly with the Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
This reporter's ambitious reconstruction of the Rodney King case presents a sobering image, not just of Los Angeles, but of judicial mayhem and political exploitation. Cannon (President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, 1991, etc.) was L.A. bureau chief of the Washington Post from 1990 to 1993. He repeatedly says that the beating of Rodney King was a Rashomon-like event in which every observer came away with a different perception of even the bare facts. Cannon's chronicle of the legal and political saga--from the night of the beating through the trial of the rioters who attacked Reginald Denny--is almost entirely drawn from the point of view of police officers. Within this particular framework, it is certainly authoritative, though the reader will almost always be nagged by a feeling of not having the whole story. He does show that the King incident was not representative of what it's like to be a suspect in the hands of the LAPD, and that only because it was videotaped did the world take it to be so. Cannon's masterful narrative, with tight control over its vast scope and incredible detail, overflows his own restriced frame, allowing readers copious material with which to weigh his implicit conviction regarding the innocence of the officers of the charges brought against them, and the LAPD's (and the judicial system's) broader guilt- -the ``negligence'' of the title (such as lack of training of police officers in the proper use of the baton to subdue a suspect). He creates an often complicated but always crystal-clear chronicle, seeming to recount years of turmoil almost minute-by-minute. Along with the major players, every juror and witness is introduced with extensive biographical background. Seemingly small legal issues and lawyerly subtexts of the trials are zealously pursued; by the time Cannon gets to the Denny trial, readers may be exhausted, but they will have achieved some clarity. As indispensable as it is incomplete. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Sgt D. Pugel, LAPD Ret.
While the book is a complete coverage of the two Rodney King trials and the Denny trial, there are a few unanswered questions:
Why didn't the Taser shots take down Rodney King?
Was it because he was high on PCP?
What's the best way to take down a large suspect who might be high on PCP?
Would pepper spray work?
Is there a better way to perform the "Swarm Technique"?
As a historical record of Los Angeles police and race relations in the last part of the 20th century, Lou Cannon's book is invaluable. There is a danger in forgetting the names and stories of Latasha Harlins and Eulia Love. Mrs. Love's death made international headlines but as the author observes, Latasha's death remained a story with local interest and never crossed over into the national media, partly because she had the misfortune of being killed in the shadow of the much larger Rodney King story.
The author also captures the fear and tension that anyone with a conscience could sense after the judge in the Latasha Harlins murder made such an unbelievably bad decision in letting a cold-blooded killer walk free with probation and a $500 fine. The outcome of the Harlins murder upset local people even more than the Rodney King beating, because it was so blatantly obvious that the judge was biased in favor of the woman who killed Latasha. Really, the riots were more about what happened to Latasha Harlins - the fuse was lit and all that was needed was a can of gasoline to pour over the flame. The not-guilty verdicts of the police officers in the Rodney King beating case became that can of gasoline.
Today, it seems unbelievable that there was no heightened police presence on the streets in anticipation of a not-guilty verdict in the King case. Even if there had been a guilty verdict, the anger was still in the air. The local police all over Southern California(not just the LAPD) had been treating ethnic minorities badly for at least twenty years by the time the world heard about Rodney King, and something was going to blow up sooner or later.