Rodney King on Trayvon: It's Easy to Get Away With Killing a Black Man

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Rodney King weighed in on the shooting death of an unarmed Florida teen whose death at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer earlier this year sparked national debate on race.

“It’s easy to kill a black man, a black kid also, these days and get away with it because it's been going on so long," King told WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show on Wednesday. "He deserves justice. ... His family deserves justice."

King criticized those who have resorted to violence in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, but said the tone has been set over decades.

"We’ve got to get away from that whatever it takes," he said.

Martin, an unarmed black teen, was shot and killed in Florida on Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch volunteer who has since been charged with second-degree murder.

King became the face of racial injustice in the U.S. two decades ago when he was beaten by Los Angeles police officers on March 3, 1991 — a gut-wrenching incident of police brutality caught on tape. Riots broke out in L.A. when the four officers involved were acquitted 13 months later.

He wrote a memoir The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption in which he recounts the experience.