With a hovering Los Angeles Police Department helicopter’s spotlight providing the illumination, the scene Holliday captured with his Sony Handycam changed history.
It was March 3, 1991, and through the lens of his camera, Holliday recorded four white Los Angeles police officers using batons, Tasers, feet and fists to beat a Black man later identified as Rodney King, whose name quickly became globally synonymous with police brutality.
King, an unemployed construction worker who had been drinking and was on probation for a robbery conviction, was instructed to pull over for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. He eventually stopped his car in front of Holliday’s apartment building, where Los Angeles police took charge of the traffic stop that devolved into a violent confrontation as officers trying to subdue King pounded on him repeatedly, as others looked on.
King was left with skull fractures, broken bones and teeth and permanent brain damage.
Holliday, who recorded the beating just after midnight, contacted KTLA later that day. The station became the first to air the footage that would be seen across the globe,…