‘Put the Gun Away, Put the Gun Away’


LAPD Sgt. Stacey Koon 25 years ago prevented CHP Officer Melanie Singer from shooting and killing an African American driver known as Rodney King. Koon served 30 months in prison for saving King’s life; his words and actions stand in marked contrast with today’s rampant police shootings.

By Steve Silkin

Every time I see video of another police officer shooting and killing someone – justified or not, per policy or not – I think of former LAPD Sgt. Stacey Koon.

That’s because early on March 3, 1991 – that’s a generation ago this week, as a quarter-century has passed since that night in Lake View Terrace – “Rodney” Glen King led the California Highway Patrol on a chase that ended when King stopped his car and got out. CHP Officer Melanie Singer approached him with her gun drawn and aimed.

“Put the gun away, put the gun away,” Koon said, shouting at her because, as he testified at his state trial in Simi Valley the next year, he saw that King could be taken into custody without killing him.

And that’s when everything all went to hell.

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