LA riots erupted 17 years ago today

Seventeen years ago today, a jury in Simi Valley acquitted four white Los Angeles police officers charged with beating black motorist Rodney King. An amateur video had recorded the incident, and people around the world had expected a different verdict. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall looks back to the reaction in L.A., where large areas of the city erupted in riots.

Seventeen years ago today, a jury in Simi Valley acquitted four white Los Angeles police officers charged with beating black motorist Rodney King. An amateur video had recorded the incident, and people around the world had expected a different verdict. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall looks back to the reaction in L.A., where large areas of the city erupted in riots.

Cheryl Devall: Shortly after Angelenos heard about the jury’s decision, local civil rights leaders met quickly to urge a calm response. By the early evening of Wednesday, April 29th, 1992, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen.

Live television broadcast images of people beating drivers at South L.A. intersections, looting and burning stores, and facing off against armed shop owners. Officials imposed curfews and many businesses closed during the unrest; the governor called in the California National Guard to patrol Los Angeles streets.

Despite beating victim Rodney King’s televised plea for everyone to “just get along,” more than 50 people of many races died during almost a week of rioting. There are few public commemorations scheduled on this anniversary.

Tonight at 8 o’clock, the Korean Presbyterian Church in Gardena is hosting a multilingual forum for people who want to gather and discuss what happened during and since the 1992 riots.

blog comments powered by Disqus