How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Tweet of the moment: 'Preliminary estimate: Nearly 1,000 fires reported, says @LAFD #crisis'

Photo by Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images

A fire department crew sprays water on a burning mini-mall in South Los Angeles, April 30, 1992

At approximately this hour 20 years ago today in Los Angeles, this was the news.

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, in which more than 50 people were killed, thousands were injured, and property damage mounted on a billion dollars. The riots began the afternoon of April 29, after a jury acquitted four police officers in the beating of Rodney King, a black motorist who had been pulled over after a chase.

Media outlets in L.A. and around the country have spent the past several days reporting on Angelenos' recollections of the riots and their lasting legacy, but NBC Southern California is doing something different. Yesterday afternoon, its @RealTimeLARiots account tweeted:

The account is NBC's answer to "What if Twitter existed in 1992?" as posted on its local website last week. @RealTimeLARiots will continue tweeting updates of what occurred on the same date and time 20 years ago as if occurring live, down to the very minute. Last night, the account tweeted a startling aerial photograph of the city as arson fires burned and smoke filled the sky the evening of April 29, 1992. The riots continued for several days after that.