Can't We All Just Get Along - 2007
Today marks the fifteen year anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in Los Angeles history: the 1992 LA Riots.
On April 29, 1992, four police officers charged in the controversial 1991 beating of motorist Rodney King were acquitted, sending shockwaves through a community already in unrest. Anger had been rising over perceived racism by LAPD, poor economic conditions, and friction between minority groups in South Central. Nevertheless, no one could have anticipated the resulting response to the trial.
For five days, all of the stored up bitterness, resentment, and frustrations were unleashed in a cathartic rage on the city as the rest of the world watched. Anarchy reigned as whole blocks of businesses were set on fire, people were carjacked and randomly beaten, and rampant shooting broke out against rescue workers and between shopkeepers and looters. And of course, the enduring image of the riots was the brutal beating of truck driver Reginald Denny at the intersection of Florence and Normandie.
By the time the National Guard finally regained control, 53 people were dead, over 1,100 building were destroyed, 10,000 people were arrested, and nearly $1 billion in damage had been caused. The worst riots in recent US history. A mighty city left with deep physical scars, but even deeper emotional wounds.
Time posted a special retrospective report on the Riots, profiling and interviewing some of the key figures involved in the events, which is worth a read if only just to remember how things were fifteen years ago.