April 29 marked 20 years since the Los Angeles riots. The violent incidents that caused the death of 523 people started in April, 1992, after the court acquitted four police officers who abused a young black man.
The incident that triggered the riots started in 1991. Rodney King, a young black man from Los Angeles was brutally beaten by four white Police offers and the scene was videotaped by an eye witness. One year later, on April 29, 1992, a jury that only included four black people made the decision of acquitting the four police officers.
Thousands of people protested on the street to express their worries, and their anger later became a full scale riot and anarchy. The police was incapable to cope with the events.
Things started to calm down only in the forth day, after the Army decided to intervene. But, it was already too late. According to the report, 53 people lost their lives, thousands were injured, hundreds of homes were destroyed. The total damages were estimated at around 1 billion dollars.
The 53 people who were killed died because of the accidents that happened during the Los Angeles riots. Presently, it is unknown how 22 of the 53 people lost their lives and the investigation is still open.
20 years after the events, the Los Angeles Police Department ( LAPD ) enjoys a bigger support and appreciation. ” After the riots we learned that this is not our city. We are here to service the citizens and the city is theirs” LAPD official Andrew Neiman said.
LAPD became even more representative for the multicultural city that is Los Angeles. ” In 1992 we had 1800 Hispanic police officers, now we have 4,200″ Neiman also said.
The problems that fueled the people’s anger back in 1992 have not entirely disappeared. Unemployment rate in South L.A. is even bigger – 24%.
Rodney King, the symbol of the Los Angeles Riots said that the society has to continue to fight racism: ” There will always racism. But it depends on us, on each individual, to look back and to see the progress we made” King said.