July 2020 Auction Ends Thursday, July 30th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 7/30/2020 5:30:00 PM

Lot #2: Video Camera Used by George Holliday to Record the Rodney King Police Beating on 3 March 1991


The video camera used by George Holliday on 3 March 1991 to record the Los Angeles Police Department beating of Rodney King, considered the first viral video that both literally and figuratively shined a light on police misconduct in the United States, and ushered in the modern era of citizen journalism.

As one of the seminal events of the 20th century, the influence of the Rodney King footage in nearly every aspect of American and global culture can't be overstated, affecting people's perceptions of race and police use of force, leading to the depiction of similar events in film and television, and inspiring countless people to bravely hold up their own cameras to record troubling events. Interestingly, after Holliday filmed the event, he approached the Los Angeles Police Department, who wasn't interested in seeing the video. It was only afterwards that he showed it to KTLA, where it immediately captured the public's attention and went viral.

Although the public had seen examples of police violence before, most notably many years prior during the 1960s, those images were most often taken, edited and curated by professional news outlets, and at the time of 1991 seemed a distant memory. Nothing so raw as unedited, uncontrolled video taken by a regular citizen had ever before been witnessed by the public all over the world, confirming what many argued was commonplace in their communities. What resulted was a firestorm, with the video taken that night not only leading to the 1992 Los Angeles riots a year later when the officers were acquitted, but also laying the groundwork for the anti-police brutality movements such as Black Lives Matter that are so relevant today.

Sony Video8 Handycam CCD-F77 is identified with serial number 63299, and also includes original accessories of the Sony AC power adapter AC-V16 with serial number H163476, and the AA battery case EBP-55. Camera, without accessories and with viewfinder down, measures approximately 12.5" long, 5" tall and 4.75" deep, and weighs approximately 2 lbs., 13. oz. The batteries have been removed to protect the camera, which is no longer functional, and the videotape of the beating is not included. The foam cover of the camera microphone is almost completely deteriorated, which is the condition in which the camera was returned to George Holliday by the FBI circa 2015. Camcorder remains in very good condition otherwise, an excellent visual example of the pre-smart phone video cameras in use during the 1990s.

Camera comes with a notarized letter of authenticity by the consignor George Holliday.
Final Bid (Includes Buyers Premium):$0
Minimum Bid:$225,000
Number of Bids:0