Twilight Los Angeles 1-150

The play starts off with a woman talking about her past. She had been singing for as long as she could remember and she was great at it. I’ve read this part over a few times and I can’t figure out the reason why it was placed at the beginning. Was it to evoke feelings of a simpler time?
The Rodney King incident started off as a high speed chase beginning on the freeway and continued through a residential area before the police were able to corner him. The police officers said that King was aggressive and resisted arrest, so they had to apply force. Rodney King left this incident with a fractured skull and internal injuries. The four police officers involved with the incident were charged with assault but were found to be not guilty by the grand jury.
After the woman’s flashback, the playwright interviews one of the officers accused of beating Rodney King. Ted Briseno talks about the worst part of the incident, which is the fact that he wanted his kids to look up to him. From this statement I feel that Briseno regrets having been involved in the episode because he knows that his image is tarnished and that his children will constantly be harassed about it. He talks about his older brother joining the military and how he admired his uniform. They were from a small town so the police uniforms there weren’t glorious, but in the city the uniforms were amazing. Ted Briseno loved the uniform. With the uniform comes power or implied power over civilians.
The former president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Stanley K. Sheinbaum told a story about his encounter with gangs. He talked about the conflict between the gangs and the police and how the two were enemies. The police were actually mad at Sheinbaum because he talked to the gangs. Stereotypically gangs are seen as trouble makers. According to dictionary.com a “gang is a group or band, a group of people with compatible tastes or mutual interests who gather for social reasons.” So the former president does not see a problem with trying to get to know the gangs. He does not think he should be on a certain side and I agree with him.
An interview that I found very interesting was the interview from Frederico Sandoval. He said that a lot of people actually did not know what was going on with the Rodney King case and that people were just following along because others were doing the same thing. This reminded me of the Invisible Man when the riots started in Harlem and no one knew the exact reasons for the riots. Mob mentality!
Below is a video of the Rodney King incident. I could not find the full video. I actually don’t think they released one. It’s pretty brutal. The Latasha Harlins video can be found on youtube.

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~ by ericadonutshoes914 on May 25, 2011.

5 Responses to “Twilight Los Angeles 1-150”

  1. Originally, I had always believed that the Rodney King incident happened somewhere closer to the 1960’s (due to conflict during the Civil Rights Movement). I am quite surprised that this kind of police brutality occurred in 90’s; it’s hard for me to believe such a level of racial violence during that era.

  2. I like how the book’s format tends to the interview-feel. Smith uses new lines to create the pauses she receives from the interviews. I also like the variety of interviews. Smith interviewed people from the juror, to police officers, to King’s aunt, to mere citizens. All of these different perspectives is used to create a big picture of the Rodney King incident.

  3. Though this book is written in a different structure than most, I find it to be more interesting that way. The fact that the author is able to speak and convey the words of so many people, it really gives readers a whole new insight to the events and in general a new perceptive on the incidents.

  4. The novel speaks a lot about different occurrences of injustice relating to minorities, and I completely agree that excessive beating and/or mistreatment of minorities is not okay on any level.
    However, there is another side to this. I know that laws and regulations are tightening around the police force in modern days. Did you know the LAPD is now not allowed to go past a certain speed, even when chasing criminals? And I know that in France, the police denied a woman when she said she was worried about some “ruffians” near her car. She ended up being mugged as she tried to quickly enter her vehicle and leave. I know this first-hand because that woman was my grandmother’s friend.
    No one can deny that Rodney King’s rights were violated, but perhaps now we’ve gone too far in the other direction. Who should we give more power to: a citizen and criminal, or our police force that we count on to keep us safe?

  5. I agree with the above comment. I sometimes worry about things being over corrected so that we cannot actually fix the things that have gone wrong. in the story i think that the book does a nice job at giving us a perspective into everyone’s thoughts. It is a different kind of writing than i am used to, but i enjoy it.

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