This ‘Family Matters’ Clip About Police Brutality Is Shockingly Relevant Nearly 25 Years Later

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Police brutality has been a hot-button issue in the U.S. for decades, and the current string of race-related deaths by cops who have faced zero consequences for their actions is pushing many people in this country to their breaking point.

Recently, a user on Twitter posted a clip from a beloved ’90s sitcom that tackled the touchy issue perfectly. And now, almost 25 years later, it’s just as true as it was the day it aired.

On March 3, 1991, King was involved in a high-speed chase with officers Tim and Melanie Singer after he was caught speeding on the expressway. After driving for nearly eight miles, King was cornered and ordered out of his vehicle. Bystander George Holliday took a video with a camcorder as the officers proceeded to viciously beat King with batons and taser him, continuing to beat him well after he had been subdued.

There, he was treated for a broken ankle, a fractured facial bone, and multiple cuts and bruises. The nurses who worked on King reportedly heard the officers involved in the incident bragging and openly cracking jokes about King’s assault.  

While the video was often cut or manipulated, it became an instant media sensation, and, according to the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, “turned what would otherwise have been a violent, but soon forgotten, encounter between the Los Angeles police and an uncooperative suspect into one of the most widely watched and discussed incidents of its kind.”  

Just hours after the acquittal, riots broke out across the city of Los Angeles. They lasted six days and resulted in 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, 7,000 fires, countless damages to businesses, and almost $1 billion in financial losses. The injustice of a group of people in power facing no consequences for their inexcusable actions was simply too much for many members of the LA community. The powder keg that was race relations in the U.S. had been ignited.    

On January 21, 1994, two years after the LA riots, an episode of Family Matters aired titled “Good Cop, Bad Cop.”

It features a scene in which Carl Winslow, an African American police officer in Chicago, confronts two cops for wrongfully pulling over and harassing his son. The episode hit home, and many young fans of the show still remember the effect it had on them to this day. When Twitter user @theJay_Show posted the above clip, it was retweeted thousands of times, and many users pointed out the same accurate but extremely upsetting observation.

The clip is still, if not more so, completely relevant to the state of our society today. It seems every month a new story comes out of an African American man being senselessly murdered by a police officer, who, even after public outcry, faces zero repercussions.

He described an incident where he “fit the description” of a perpetrator and was accosted by the police until he brought out his own badge, identifying himself as a fellow cop.

This quote by Ben Franklin seems more relevant now than ever before. “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Maybe one day the complacency of those who are unaffected will disappear, and we as a people will finally come together to put an end to this grotesque misuse of power.