King comments in his 2012 book, “The Riot Within.”
“One of the officers suddenly kicked me with his boot in the side of my face, smashing my jaw,” King wrote. “It felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to my head. Before I could even register that unbearable pain, one of the other officers slammed me in the lower leg with his baton.”
Moments later, the beating intensified.
“I was being hit with multiple baton blows to every part of my body — my knees, ankles, wrists and head. The beatings continued to rain down on me,” King wrote.
If he tried to run away, King explains, he felt he would be killed because it would have appeared as though he was running at an officer: “If there was a time, that night, that I was going to give them an excuse to kill me, that was it.” He says he didn’t run, not because he didn’t want to but because his ankle seemed to be broken.
He says the group continued to pummel him: “I kept reminding myself to stay cool, but it was as if I was some damn human piñata and the cops were all in a rush to see who could smash me open first.”
As he lay there amid the violence, he had an out-of-body experience.
“I began to think about all the blacks down South who were slaves and had been beaten and lynched. I felt a strange power at that moment, as if their spirits were all coming together to help me through this,” he wrote.