Law And Disorder

For cops, fear and frustration are constants. Sometimes even the best of them snap under the pressure.

To watch the videotape of Los Angeles policemen kicking and clubbing Rodney King was to suddenly explore a dark corner of American life. For many police officers who fear that the incident could undermine their image of cool professionalism, the case quickly became an occasion for dismay, soul searching and a measure of defensiveness. For many citizens, particularly blacks and other minorities, it brought back bitter memories of their own rough encounters with police. George Bush bluntly summarized the prevailing shock: "What I saw made me sick."

The sickening glare from that grisly scene has thrown light upon police brutality all...

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