92' L.A. Riots

Topics: Police, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department Pages: 12 (4879 words) Published: October 18, 2005
LA was held hostage; not by any foreign terrorists, not by a splinter cell organization, or even by some fundamentalist group. But by its own citizens, the people who live their lives and settle themselves in LA: storeowners, office workers, construction workers, gang members, people who were on welfare, and even middle class whites were involved in the Siege of LA. It affected everyone, it didn't discriminate, and it didn't care what race you were or what your financial status was. All of that was a moot point.

LA has always been a diverse and distinct city: sun, fun, entertainment, glitz, glamour, celebrities but also one of smog, gloom, poverty, ghettos, gangs, and violence. But regardless LA has been looked upon many as the city to restart and begin afresh. The 90s had just barely started a new decade with some new trends and some old. A war had already been waged in the Middle East. Then the second major event in the decade's young existence was about to begin. LA was a highly volatile place due to the circumstances of how many people lived. The economy was in a slump, and people were turning to less than favorable ways to make a living. LAPD was not liked by many due to the fact that many people saw their tactics and methods as questionable at best. Also because of what's happened in the past with law enforcement such as Watts during the 60s as well as Kent State shooting. So when you add this together you get one very explosive and deadly combination and to make matters even worse it's not like LAPD or any other agency had made attempts to mend past errors and mistakes. So what you get when all of these elements were mixed together was the worst riot in U.S. history.

March 3, 1991 Rodney King was pulled over for reckless driving and while being arrested was beaten by police in order to put him in custody. It was said at the time that he was under a pain-numbing drug such as PCP. He was shocked twice by 50,000 volt tasers which is enough power to put any man down. But then was repeatedly hit by batons or night sticks. He was struck a total of 56 times before they stopped. (Wikipedia 1). But as this was occurring a bystander just happened to have a video camera and capture one of the most famous films in history.

What followed was massive public outcry and demand for justice. Many thought that the police had taken too extreme of measures in responding to the situation. The public took notice and so did the courts. On March 15, 1992 four officers of the LAPD were indicted on charges of "assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury" and with assault "under color of authority." The trial was moved from Los Angeles County to Ventura County due to the reason that the officers wouldn't receive a fair trial. The defense laid out their evidence and a jury of 10 Caucasian, one Hispanic and one Asian acquitted three of the four offices of all charges and couldn't agree on a verdict for the last remaining officer. (Wikipedia 1). People all over the country were outraged and couldn't believe that these officers were not found guilty of any crime but were acquitted to boot. Many people knew that there would be consequences from the acquittal but I don't think anyone knew just how bad it would be. Many people were in shock and awe due to the verdict, The President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, made a rare statement on a trial, saying that the verdict "has left us all with a deep sense of personal frustration and anguish." (Wikipedia 1). The Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, said; "We must express our profound anger and outrage (at the acquittal), but we also must not endanger the reforms that we have made by striking out blindly". He continued, "We must demand that the L.A.P.D. fire the officers who beat Rodney King and take them off the streets once and for all". (Staten emergency report paragraph 6)

Shortly after the verdict was announced people simple lost it. All the elements for something...

Bibliography: Clark Staten, "Emergency Report". Unknown. Pages 1-7
5/Jun/2005. http://www.emergency.com/la-riots.htm
Lou Cannon, "Los Angeles and the worst riots of modern times". Unknown. Pages 1-5, 5/Jun/2005. http://www.worldfreeinternet.net/news/nws75.htm
Jessica N. Jones, "The Los Angeles Riots". Unknown. Pages 1-3, 5/Jun/2005. http://www.louisville.edu/~jnjone02/riots.html
Unknown. "Rodney King" Wikipedia. Pages 1-4, 5/Jun/2005, 3/Jun/2005
Stan Chambers. "Rodney King and the Los Angeles Riots" Unknown. Pages 1-6.
17/Feb/2005, 5/Jun/2005, http://www.citivu.com/ktla/sc-ch1.html
James Vanhise. "The Poor Are Coming To Your Town". Unknown. Pages 1-4,
5/Jun/2005. http://www.fragmentsweb.org/stuff/rodking.html
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