Twenty years ago today, four police officers were acquitted on all charges in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, and Los Angeles was soon on fire. After three days of some of the worst race riots America had ever seen, 55 people were dead, 2,325 people reported injuries, 1,573 buildings had been damaged or destroyed, and the total cost of the riots was estimated at $1 billion.
This past week, news outlets from across Los Angeles County have commemorated the 20th anniversary milestone with scores of pieces that range from a celebration of how far the city has come since the riots to questions about the economic woes still plaguing South LA.
At HuffPost Los Angeles, we published a round up of the most shocking videos from the LA Riots, as well as a story about how community recording has empowered victims and changed policing for the better.
We also took a look at how the LA riots have impacted Los Angeles culture. We compiled 10 references to the riots in pop culture and took a look at VH1’s upcoming rock doc, “Uprising: Hip Hop & the LA Riots,” about the connection between rap music and rage among South Central residents.
On the blogs, KoreAm writer Alex Ko celebrated the resurrection of Koreatown but confessed that he still can’t bear to return to parts of town where his parents’ businesses once stood. Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president of Community Coalition in South LA, called attention to the fact that the median income for black and latino families in the area has decreased since 1990. Author Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote about the tremendous strides that the Los Angeles Police Department has taken since the riots, and journalist Leslie Griffith blamed the overhead newscopters, in part, for fanning the flames of rioters and giving them an audience for which to perform.
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