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Los Angeles Riots 1992: About

1992 LA Riots


What Sparked the Rioting? Acquittal : April 29, 1992

On April 29, 1992, a jury in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley acquits four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King a year earlier. The announcement of the verdict, which enraged the black community, prompted the L.A. riots, which spread quickly throughout much of the sprawling city. It wasn’t until three days later that the arson and looting finally ended.

Immediately after the verdict was announced that afternoon, protestors took to the streets, engaging in random acts of violence. At the corner of Florence and Normandie streets, Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, was dragged from his truck and severely beaten by several angry rioters. A helicopter crew caught the incident on camera and broadcast it live on local television.  Continue reading from The History Channel

Who was Rodney King?

Rodney Glen King was an African American construction worker whose videotaped beating by white Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers in March 1991 (and the officers’ subsequent treatment by the courts) sparked violent race riots and fueled a charged debate about civil rights and the U.S. justice system. King’s car was pulled over for speeding by four LAPD officers, and he attempted to escape on foot. After being chased down, he was repeatedly kicked, struck with batons, and stunned with Tasers, and he sustained serious injuries, including skull fractures and facial paralysis. The beating, which was surreptitiously recorded by a bystander and then widely broadcast on television, heightened racial tensions nationwide and rendered King a symbol of a perceived pattern of police brutality toward racial minorities. Under public pressure the officers were brought to trial in 1992, but the jury acquitted three, and a mistrial was declared for the fourth. The verdict spurred some of the worst riots in U.S. history, resulting in more than 50 dead, thousands injured, and an estimated $1 billion in damages in the area of South Los Angeles. King pleaded for peace during the riots, famously asking, “Can we all get along?” The beating and the subsequent riots prompted widespread investigation of police conduct and the resignation of the LAPD chief. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica

From Our Collection

Link to Kings in the Catalog
Link to Choke Hold: Policing Black Men by Paul Butler in the Catalog
Link to Black and Blue by Jeff Pegues in the Catalog
Link to America On Fire by Elizabeth Hinton in the Catalog
Link to Bodega: Poems by Su Hwang in the Catalog
Link to Make Change by Shaun King in the Catalog

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