It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 20 years since the brutal beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers was videotaped and horrified a nation. Now, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the riots incited by his case, King looks back on the ordeal and his life since then in a new memoir, ‘The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption.’

On March 3, 1991, King was driving under the influence and initially didn’t stop when he saw the blue lights of the LAPD in his rearview mirror. When he eventually did pull over, four officers hit him more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns, with the whole incident caught on tape by an onlooker.

Those officers went to trial and were acquitted by an all-white jury on April 29, 1992, sparking a three-day riot in LA that left 55 people dead and caused billions in property damage. As the riots raged on, King issued a public plea for peace, uttering the now-famous line, “Can we all get along?”

In a civil suit, King was later awarded almost $4 million from the city, but thanks to bad investments, that money is gone. King still suffers physical problems from the beating and alcoholism has also resulted in several more arrests. Even after all this time, though, he’s not bitter.

“America’s been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all,” he says. “This part of my life is the easy part now.”

Asked for comment about the Trayvon Martin case in which a young unarmed black man was recently shot and killed, King told TMZ, “I’m hoping he gets justice for his family…’cause he’s no longer here, so for his family,” adding, “Luckily I got [my attack] seen on tape.”

Watch him talk about his own traumatic ordeal below.

[NPR]