Peter H. King, then city editor of The Times and now a columnist, says he did take the issue seriously, and in early 1990, he asked reporter Ron Harris to look at police treatment of young black males.
Harris made preliminary inquiries and wrote King a lengthy memo proposing a broad series of perhaps 10 stories probing police treatment of blacks. Much of what Harris wrote in his memo foreshadowed what would later be written in The Times and other media in the aftermath of the Rodney G. King beating, but King said he "wasn't interested in a story that laid out a lot of facts." He wanted a more personal, "subjective . . . impressionistic" story, rather than the traditional reportage Harris favored.