It's been 25 years since LAPD officers beat Rodney King—but it might not seem like much has changed in terms of police brutality.
On March 3, 1991, police engaged King in a high-speed chase that ended in Lakeview Terrace, a northeast district in Los Angeles. When a reportedly drunk King emerged from the vehicle and lunged towards police, officers began beating him, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officers Laurence M. Powell and Timothy E. Wind repeatedly struck King with their batons, and Theodore J. Briseno kicked him. The officers' supervisor, Sgt. Stacey C. Koon, stood in the background, observing their actions and giving directions.
The beating lasted for more than 1 minute, and video footage of the incident sparked outrage, prompting the L.A. riots after the officers were found not guilty in 1992.
It's been 25 years since then, and black men and women continue to experience high levels of police violence. Last year, 21 percent of the people struck by LAPD gunfire were black, the LA Times reported. Yet the city's black residents only comprise 9 percent of its population.
The Counted database, run by The Guardian, tracks all people—armed and unarmed—killed by American police. As of Thursday there have already been 175 deaths in 2016. Three of those deaths were of unarmed black men.
On Feb. 4, police shot and killed 36-year-old Antronie Scott in San Antonio, Texas, after he appeared to be brandishing a weapon; it turned out to be his cell phone.
Just four days later in Austin, Texas, 17-year-old David Joseph was "behaving aggressively," according to police. He was shot when he charged at officers, although he was unarmed.
On Feb. 13, police shot and killed 24-year-old Calin Roquemore in Beckville, Texas, after he refused to pull over for a routine traffic stop. The state trooper conducting the stop said he believed Roquemore was reaching for a gun, but he was unarmed.
Even though there aren't more police shootings today than there were in the past, statistics still point to much-needed change. The tally of police-related deaths in 2015 reached a staggering 1,140 people.
Considering that Norwegian police officers only fired weapons twice over the course of 2014, it's time to examine new ways to reduce police shootings. Dashboard cams, additional training, and other police initiatives are crucial resources to increase police responsibility.