An outstanding piece of reporting that takes the long view of the effects of the Rodney King trial and subsequent events, "Official Negligence" makes some fresh points about a sequence of episodes most people are tired of talking about. Of the fascinating cast of characters profiled in this book, the only one who emerges as anything approaching a hero is perhaps the least likely candidate: Stacy Koon, the sergeant who oversaw the original arrest of King and was later convicted of violating King's civil rights. Cannon's argument, at root, is that it is highly debateable whether a crime was committed in Pasadena in March, 1991, when King was pulled over and eventually beaten, and that racial animosity played virtually no role in the event. What is NOT debateable, according to Cannon, is the "official negligence" of the L.A. city council, Mayor Tom Bradley, the L.A. court system, and the LAPD leadership that produced the poorly trained officers who originally confronted King and the subsequent chaos that engulfed Los Angeles. Cannon is a terrific reporter who refuses to engage in policy prescriptions, but he does an outstanding job of detailing the sequence of communication breakdowns, judicial fiat, local political arrogance and LAPD miscalculations that produced an environment where riots were a natural consequence. The only (minor) flaw is a sense of repetition that suggests another editorial pass at the manuscript would have been useful, but overall, "Official Negligence" is an absolutely compelling read that will, despite whatever preconceptions you have of Rodney King, the LAPD, or the causes of the 1992 riots, challenge your preconceptions and force a rethinking of basic assumptions surrounding law enforcement, urban America, and Los Angeles.