Laurence Powell

Laurence Michael Powell (born August 26, 1962 in Los Angeles, California) is a former Los Angeles Police Department officer. He was one of the LAPD officers involved in the beating of Rodney King on March 3, 1991.

Laurence Powell
Laurence Michael Powell

(1962-08-26) August 26, 1962 (age 57)[1][2]
Police career
DepartmentLos Angeles Police Department
Service years1989 - 1992
RankSworn in as an Officer - 1989
Other workConvicted in connection to the Rodney King beating


Powell graduated from Crescenta Valley High School. He later enrolled in the police academy. [3]

Rodney King incident and trialEdit

On March 3, 1991, Powell and three other officers, Sgt. Stacey Koon, Officer Theodore Briseno, and Officer Timothy Wind were videotaped repeatedly striking Rodney King with their police batons in Lake View Terrace.[4] Officer Powell was partnered with Officer Wind at the time.

The Los Angeles District Attorney charged the four officers with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. A year later, after a change of venue from Los Angeles to Ventura County, a jury of ten whites, one Asian and one Hispanic, acquitted the four officers of the assault charge, but deadlocked on the excessive force charge for Powell. The verdict led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

The four officers were later indicted on federal charges for violating Rodney King's civil rights. Powell and Koon were convicted in 1993 and were sentenced to 30 months in prison.[5]

The 1992 song "Guerillas in the Mist" by Da Lench Mob uses a sample of the phrase "gorillas in the mist" uttered by Powell. The LAPD officer had used the phrase to describe a black family in a domestic dispute that he responded to just before stopping King, named after the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist.[6]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^,28804,1614117_1614084_1614517,00.html
  4. ^ "RODNEY KING BEATING VIDEO Full length footage SCREENER". 12 March 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Quinn, Eithne. Nuthin' but a "G" Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. (See pp. 104-105.)