How the traffic stop of Rodney King 25 years ago impacted law enforcement and society

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NEW YORK CITY -- The video lasted for a few minutes. For many it seemed like an eternity. A viral video before the term ever existed.

A taxi driver named Rodney King. Pulled over and viciously beaten as well as tasered by four members of the LAPD.

What that video produced from the vantage point of the law, was four indicted cops, an acquittal and some of the deadliest rioting in our nation's history. In all, 53 people died in the spring of 1992.

Ultimately, a federal trial found two of the four cops guilty. As for what the video shot on March 3, 1991 did from a societal standpoint was simple, it put law enforcement on alert.

"It sent a shiver effect throughout the NYPD, throughout law enforcement as a whole and it was a game-changer for law enforcement," said Manny Gomez, the President of MG Security Services and a rookie cop with the NYPD in the spring of 1991.

When asked how did the actions of the LAPD, several thousand miles away, impact the job of the NYPD on the streets of New York, Gomez without hesitation responded, "That video changed law enforcement forever. It showed law enforcement and the world that police can no longer get away with abusing people the way the cops in that video abused Rodney King."

While most of the nation could not comprehend how violent and illegal it was, there were many like Brooklyn native Ken Montgomery, a colleges student in Virginia at the time, who viewed the video as simply a harsh introduction for a segment of America that did not understand that this was going on nationwide.

"What was so intriguing about it was that it wasn't just happening in Los Angeles. It was happening in Newport News, Virginia. It was happening in the Bronx. It was happening in Brooklyn. It was happening in Ohio, anywhere where you had pockets of minority men in certain neighborhoods this was happening."

Montgomery is a former prosecutor who now has his own Brooklyn practice. He shared with PIX11 News how the video impacted the outlook on his career.

"I probably was studying for the LSAT at the time, or at least preparing to and I always had plans on being a trial attorney, it made me realize that you have to work hard to get a result in the legal world."

The Reverend Al Sharpton remembers being right in the middle of it all, "The period was very volatile."

Sharpton and King met following the beating and remained friendly until his accidental death in 2012. Sharpton told PIX11 News on Thursday that the notoriety surrounding the case made King a victim during the beating as well as after.

"I think Rodney King was victimized twice. He was beat on a highway and he was robbed of the person he was and of his future."