On April 29, 1992, a jury in Ventura County acquitted four LAPD officers in the beating of Rodney G. King. The beating, caught on amateur videotape, sparked a national debate about police brutality and racial injustice. After the verdict, angry crowds gathered on street corners across Los Angeles.
The city burns
In the aftermath of the riots, city officials tallied more than 1,000 damaged properties. This map shows sites in central and south L.A. that were hit the hardest, including buildings that were at least half damaged or deemed unsafe, according to city records.
Deaths during the riots
More than 60 people lost their lives amid the looting and fires that ravaged the city over five days starting April 29, 1992. Ten were shot to death by law enforcement officials. An additional 44 people died in other homicides or incidents tied to the rioting. By year’s end, Los Angeles had 1,096 homicides, a record.
A changing police force
The demographics of the Los Angeles Police Department have changed dramatically over the last decades. The agency has been transformed from a predominantly white institution into one that closely mirrors the city’s demographics.
Racial makeup of LAPD versus the city
Los Angeles in flux
The city’s demographics have also changed. An expanding Latino population has displaced African Americans from their historic center in South Los Angeles.
Produced by Kyle Kim and Thomas Suh Lauder
Additional reporting by Maloy Moore, Angel Jennings, Emily Alpert Reyes
Sources: Census Bureau, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, ESRI, Minnesota Population Center, Times reporting