And this is what George Holliday captured.

In an age of smartphones, this type of raw footage and its power to shock people into action—from war zones overseas to train stations at home—has become disturbingly more familiar. But it wasn't always that way. The media reflects on the 20th anniversary of Rodney King's beating by a handful of police officers. Some things haven't changed. But some things have.

Today, things are far different and the tape that so tainted the LAPD has a clear legacy in how officers think about their jobs. Police now work in a YouTube world in which cell phones double as cameras, news helicopters transmit close-up footage of unfolding police pursuits, and surveillance cameras capture arrests or shootings. Police officials are increasingly recording their officers. Compared to the cops who beat King, officers these days hit the streets with a new reality ingrained in their minds: Someone is always watching.