Rodney King's legacy

Career criminal became victim for life


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," June 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Rodney King died on Sunday. I used to watch him on "Celebrity Rehab." And the sad thing is, when sober, he seemed pretty gentle. But he was rarely sober. The thing is, this man's life speaks volumes of the harmfulness of giving victim status to someone who victimized himself and others.

His name brings me to the race riots where thugs terrorized under the banner of victimhood. The media egged it on, paralyzed by political correctness they contracted from grad schools and their toxic teacher lounges.

King was a career criminal but will always be seen as victim. And he was. But his attacker was often himself and also the media who martyred the undeserved.

And that only made things worse for a life that you think couldn't get much lower. But it did. With more drugs, booze, crime and ultimately death.

I'm sorry for those who loved him, but as the media launches into their obits, which will gloss over his life by calling him "troubled," let's recall that being a victim is not lifetime get out of jail free card. It does not absolve you of all responsibilities. It doesn't mean sainthood.

It means that if you play the victim for life, you will surely end up a victim of yourself.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: That was one of the straightest monologues you've ever done.

GUTFELD: Well, the poor fellow just passed away.

BECKEL: Let's not forget in all this, the reason he became a victim was outrageous, disgraceful performance by policemen who beat him senseless. Let's not try to cover that over as we go back. Was Rodney King a bad guy? Yes. Were the policemen bad people? Absolutely.

GUTFELD: I don't know if I agree completely with that. I don't know if I ever will because I wasn't there. I didn't see the whole video.

I do know he was high. I do know the police felt threatened. I do know that he fought back. He got beaten pretty bad. That was horrible.

BECKEL: Greg, do you remember how many police were around him?

GUTFELD: Yes. I remember the video. But what I remember more out of this is the rioting and how the media trumped that stuff up. And what I worry about is, will that ever happen again? And I hate to say it, I think it will.

That's the point.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Also, you have to remember, in the aftermath of the decision where the four cops -- or a number of cops were acquitted -- Reginald Denny. Remember, he was a truck driver pulled into the intersection in Florence Avenue, yanked out of the truck. He was beaten senseless with a brick at one point. Another guy threw a vase and almost killed the guy.

One of these guys -- Greg, I never forget that whole day, that whole week. I was more fearful than any other point in my life. Remember this was before 9/11, up until then, life was pretty -- you know, things came and went. But that was --

GUTFELD: The lowest point.

BOLLING: The lowest point, the defining moment until that point.


BOLLING: Scary time in America.

GUTFELD: Yes, watching it -- it remains the lowest point of American life watching those riots.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Two officers were actually convicted and sentenced. Others were acquitted of various charges. He was awarded $3.8 million judgment because of what happened. It doesn't make it go away or dissipate it in any way, the injustice that happened to him that day.

But, you know, he was a troubled individual, somebody who had multiple arrests for drunk driving -- one including a vehicle assault on his own wife and his own daughter, tried to run them down and kill them with his car.

So, you know, a troubled life definitely and there's an autopsy result --

GUTFELD: I'm not a fan of the word "troubled." I'm fan of the word "career criminal."

GUILFOYLE: He also had drug and alcohol problems.

BECKEL: How about a fan of the word "oppressed?"

GUTFELD: Criminals are not oppressed. They oppress societies.

BECKEL: The people who rioted were not all criminals. They had been taken advantage of by the police in that neighborhood over and over --

GUTFELD: You are excusing rioting in which innocent people died.

BECKEL: I don't excuse rioting but also don't excuse the fact that these people have been oppressed and put in area --

GUTFELD: "These people." You're saying they were oppressed by who? By us?

BECKEL: But Los Angeles authorities among others. Yes.

GUTFELD: Do you think guys looting, that was a reaction to being oppressed or the fact that they were taking advantage of --


BECKEL: I think some of both to be honest, with you. I think people at some point -- why they did give O.J. Simpson got off when blacks cheered when O.J. got off. We all know he was guilty, right? It's because it was get-back. It was for every cop that stopped somebody and put them through sobriety test. It was for everybody who has been in a ghetto neighborhood, who's been badly treated by authorities.

GUILFOYLE: You're not allowed to do that.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Interestingly, O.J. Simpson had the glory of seeing his success in football, then watching all of that fade, but then a troubled life or career criminal who since then has not -- he could have take than moment and made something. Instead, he basically committed a series of crimes -- even in jail.

BOLLING: But, Greg, go back to Reginald Denny for a second, the four guys who were involved in that, "the L.A. Four" I think they are called, one of them "Football" Monroe Williams, found guilty of mayhem. Not attempted murder, not, you know, assault -- mayhem. He spends a couple years in prison gets out and kills again. I mean, "get back," Bob --

BOLLING: What about the cops that got off in that deal?


GUTFELD: Were all the cops white?

BECKEL: I think one of them was black.

GUTFELD: Did you think that the media learned anything from this? Could this actually happen again?

PERINO: To your point, I think being a hero or a victim you can go back and forth through the life. But there's one thing that will make a big difference, and that is how the media chooses to cover your situation.

GUTFELD: Yes. If Zimmerman ends up being acquitted, how will the media who's put so much focus on that case?

BOLLING: The difference? No video. Video was a difference not only in Rodney King but also Reginald Denny case, both of them.


GUILFOYLE: Rodney talked about he hoped the Trayvon family would get justice. He weighed on that, too, before he died.

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