LA Riots: 20 Years Later

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Views on '92: What’s the legacy of LA’s '92 Riots?

On Wednesday, April 11th, audience members joined KPCC Senior News Editor Cheryl Devall to talk about the role of race in the 1992 upheaval itself how Los Angeles feels two decades later. Dr. Fernando Guerra, director of Loyola Marymount University’s Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, shared the results of its recent LA Riots 20 Year Anniversary Resident Survey.

KPCC coverage: LA then and now

A Different Kind of Riot

Most Angelenos would like to forget the ’92 Riots. Lloyd Wilkey has embraced them.

Forget the LA Riots - historic 1992 Watts gang truce was the big news

The day before the riots, black street gangs in Watts declared a truce in a bloody war that had killed hundreds of young men. It was an extraordinary moment in the city’s history.

After LA Riots, scandal sparked reform in LAPD

There have been many changes in the city since those days of fire, looting and public discord in 1992, but perhaps the biggest changes can be seen in L.A.'s police department.

Sifting through the ashes: 20 years since the LA Riots

The violence, despair and destruction that exploded in Los Angeles on April 29, 1992 left indelible memories on Angelenos and on Americans right across the country.

I predict a riot: Economists who studied the L.A. unrest made some troubling discoveries

It's the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots and here at KPCC we've been digging deep into the legacy of those bad days for the city. But it's also the 16th anniversary of just about the only serious economics paper Matt Debord can find on why the riots might have happened.

Sonny Kang reflects on his experience during the LA Riots

During April of 1992, Sonny Kang, a Korean-American from Koreatown, was in his college dorm room in San Diego when he first heard about the LA Riots. He turned on his TV and saw his hometown in a chaotic state.

Grace Yun: An outsider's perspective on the LA Riots

Grace Yun is a Korean American who teaches at a high school in Watts. Yun is originally from Virginia but she’s been a teacher in Watts for six years. She was only eight years old during the riots, and wanted to know more about the event when she moved to L.A.

Multi-American: Perspectives on the LA Riots, 20 years later

During the last month, KPCC brought together four panels of Angelenos to share their recollections of the deadly riots that began April 29, 1992 in an informal series of private conversations, led by journalists and other members of the staff. The panelists were people from throughout the city, of different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Those who led the talks have been sharing the highlights of what they learned all this week on Multi-American.

Rodney King speaks 20 years after the riots

Patt Morrison sat down recently with King to talk about the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots and how they have affected his life, and how they changed Los Angeles and its people.

Montage: Fragments from the '92 Riots

The rioting that broke out in L.A. in 1992 was one of the most traumatic episodes in the history of the city. Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the violence. The riots lasted a total of six days. More than 50 people were killed. Property damage was estimated at a billion dollars. Long-time L.A.P.D. Chief Daryl Gates retired two months later.

20 years after the riots, LAPD cops look back on lessons learned

Bob Green is as blue as you get - L.A.P.D. blue. Born and raised in Westchester near Los Angeles International Airport, Green always wanted to be a police officer - to chase bad guys and serve his community. He's worked in the gang unit, SWAT and flown helicopters patrolling the city he loves from above.

For an earlier generation, LA Riots anniversary stirs memories of unrest in Watts

For some Angelenos, the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots brings to mind another traumatic event from an even earlier time: The Watts Riots of 1965.

Former Mayor James Hahn remembers '92 (and '65) LA Riots

On April 29, 1992, James Hahn was driving down Florence on his way to his parents' house. On the radio, he heard about the rioting and diverted to side streets. He would have beaten Reginald Denny to Florence and Normandie by five minutes.

KPCC's Kitty Felde remembers the LA Riots, Watts and Rodney King

I’ve watched this city fall apart twice in my lifetime. On August 11, 1965, just two days before my birthday, an incident with a cop just a few miles from our house grew into the explosion we now know as the Watts riots.

Talking to (and teaching) children about the Los Angeles Riots

Given that it’s not easy to have a substantive conversation with children about abstract concepts like violence and racism, how does one begin to teach or talk to kids about what happened in 1992? How are schools teaching the lessons of this defining event to the children of people who witnessed it firsthand?

Wait Wait's Peter Sagal: Guess who I met during the LA Riots?

Excerpts from a story Peter Sagal told at an "Audible Feast” benefit for Chicago Public Radio at the Rubloff Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago, which he retells on this week's Off-Ramp to KPCC's John Rabe.

Liquor stores front and center during '92 unrest

Once the fires of the L.A. Riots were out, shop owners in South L.A. began the painful task of rebuilding after the riots. But the battle was just beginning for liquor store owners, and the community activists trying to keep them out.

Considering the Korean American experience in the LA Riots

In the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict, many Koreans throughout the L.A. area rushed to Koreatown after Korean-language radio stations called for volunteers to guard against rioters. Many were armed with guns and improvised weapons. In the end, five Korean merchants were killed, others were wounded, and several stores were looted.

Historian Joe Domanick: The LAPD's culpability in the LA Riots

Journalist and historian Joe Domanick takes Off-Ramp listeners to Parker Center, the L.A. Times building, and the new LAPD Headquarters building – three places he sees as crucial to understanding why the 1992 L.A. Riots happened.

Riots imprinted on a 6 year-old girl, KPCC producer Bianca Ramirez

Bianca Ramirez, one of KPCC's producers, was 6 when the riots broke out at Florence and Normandie, just a couple miles from her house, and they quickly spread to her neighborhood.

Local artist Jill D'Agnenica's attempt to heal Los Angeles with surprise and inspiration

On April 29, 1993 – one year after the Rodney King riots began – artist Jill D'Agnenica embarked on an extremely ambitious art project.

Saigu, on April 29th, is a landmark date for many of LA’s Korean-Americans

How Korean Angelenos remember the Los Angeles Riots, from its media coverage of yesteryears to the mark it's left on today.

Mom, activist, & LA trial junkie Linda Jay hopes to get her own justice in the courtroom

Linda Jay calls herself a "trial junkie." She doesn't just watch trials on TV, she goes to see them in person. A 55 year-old South Central resident, she’s been going to high-profile court trials for 20 years.

Is South LA seeing an economic revival two decades after the riots?

Twenty years on from the fires, fighting, and looting that raged through South Los Angeles neighborhoods in 1992, how do we define the success of revitalization and rebuilding efforts?

Perspectives on the riots, 20 years later

"Working as a KPCC reporter is sort of like taking a daily trip to the barbershop. I often get to hear frank, intelligent and compelling opinions on any number of issues – from the goings-on in our nation’s capital to what’s happening in our own backyards."

Earlez Grille survived the LA Riots and thrives today

Earlez Grille started 30 years ago as a hot dog cart that brothers Cary and Duane Earle wheeled to Venice Beach and the Crenshaw Swap Meet. Now it’s a busy restaurant at Crenshaw and Exposition, and it’s putting two of Cary Earle’s kids through college.

Remembering the moment the riots began, at Florence and Normandie

On April 29th, twenty years ago, rioting first broke out at the intersection of Florence and Normandie, outside Tom's Liquor in South Central Los Angeles, after news that the officers accused of beating Rodney King were acquitted hit the airwaves.

LA Riot literature in review, with David Kipen

David Kipen joins the show to discuss an array of books exploring the theme of the L.A. Riots, including "Official Negligence" by Lou Cannon, "Brothers and Sisters" by Bebe Moore Campbell, "Geography of Rage: Remembering the LA Riots of 1992" edited by Jervey Tervalon, "Twilight" by Anna Deveare Smith, "Understand This" by Jervey Tervalon. "The Tattooed Soldier" by Hector Tobar, "Violent Spring" by Gary Phillips, "The New Centurions" by Joseph Wambaugh, "Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness" by Robert E. Conot, & "A Journey Into the Mind of Watts," an essay by Thomas Pynchon.

Where are they now? Major figures from the LA Riots

Twenty years after the L.A. riots, where are the people who were are at the center of it all? KPCC's Josie Huang speaks to Madeleine Brand about the whereabouts of Rodney King, the LAPD police who beat him, and Reginald Denny, the truck driver who was attacked in the riots.

Reinventing the LAPD: A look back at the Christopher Commission

While Rodney King and Reginald Denny have become household names, another major player in the LA riots was the Los Angeles Police Department, which came under scrutiny for its practices.

Stories from the LA Riots

Over the last few months, KPCC has been talking with Angelenos about the 1992 Riots, sparked by the acquittals of the LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King and predicated on the documented historic abuse of blacks and Latinos by the LAPD. Some people -- like the current head of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce – were far away, some were in the middle, like a little girl who remembers how hot the windows of her apartment got as riots burned a nearby building.

KPCC's Kitty Felde remembers the Watts and '92 Riots

"I’ve watched this city fall apart twice in my lifetime. On August 11, 1965, just two days before my birthday, an incident with a cop just a few miles from our house grew into the explosion we now know as the Watts riots."

Share your story: Has LA changed?

Do you remember where you were for the L.A. riots? What images, scenes or stories represent the riots for you? Have we changed as a community? Is another event like the riots of 1992 still possible in Los Angeles? Join the conversation. Tag your tweet #DefineLA and tell us how L.A.'s changed, or find us on Facebook and post your thoughts and memories to our wall. We'll include a selection of reflections below.